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UIL Passes Amendment Limiting Full Contact at Football Practice

The University Interscholastic League’s Legislative Council passed an amendment Tuesday that would limit the amount of full contact at football practices to 90 minutes per week.

The amendment’s passage now requires approval by the state’s Commissioner of Education before going into affect for the 2013 season. If approved, the new rule will be officially instituted Aug. 1, which is four days before schools that did not go through spring practice begin preseason workouts.

The recommendation was made to reduce the scale of full-contract practices by the UIL’s Medical Advisory Committee back in April. It comes at a time when the sport of football has become increasingly sensitive to player safety.

According to the amendment, each athlete cannot exceed 90 minutes each week of “game-speed tackling and blocking to the ground” during the regular season and playoffs.

Whitehouse coach Adam Cook said there are both pros and cons to the ruling.

“I understand why people are pushing for that, I completely understand the other side of that,” he said. “But at the same time, it’s a physical game and it’d be hard to emphasize how physical it is at 90 minutes per week. But it’s the rule, and we’ll have to abide by it and get our kids prepared physically the best we can week-in and week-out.”

Some coaches believe the ruling won’t be as big of an issue as many believe.

“It’s not going to affect my guys,” said Jacksonville coach Chris Taber. “When you talk about full contact, all the way to the ground, we don’t do a lot of that. We have full contact on Mondays, but on Tuesday and Wednesday we try to pull back and let the kids get their legs under them.”

Added Chapel Hill coach Thomas Sitton: “I appreciate the UIL trying to keep our kids safe, but I know that at Chapel Hill 90 minutes of full-contact is about all we get. We probably don’t do 90 minutes of full contact anyway, I don’t know anyone who does, really.”

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