60% -75% of  head trauma sustained by high school football players occur during practice, not during games! In the NFL, only 3% of head trauma occurs in practice.

That is a huge difference. In other words if high school football changed the way it practiced, it could cut the number of head injuries in half – overnight.

But would the players be properly prepared? At Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens has had a winning seasons for the past 6 years,and his team tied for the Ivy League championship last year, and no defensive player sustained a concussion last year. In Teevens’ own words “I love football but I love my players more.”  Simply put,  fewer injuries, and a better record. He has adopted a program with no full contact practice tackling.

The Ivy League is poised to adopt rules to eliminate full contact practices during the season. They practice on padded tackling dummies and even a tackling robot. Dartmouth prides itself that Dartmouth players will never tackle another Dartmouth player.  In the NFL, there is less than one full contact practice per week during the season.  These are proven strategies that have improved player safety and made for better records – the two are compatible.

In medicine we try to use the best data to make the best decisions, lets do the same for our children athletes.

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