The Pac-12 plans to adopt a formal policy limiting contact in football practices.
Brett McMurphy of ESPN tweeted the news:
The goal is to limit injuries, particularly serious injuries such as head trauma. According to USA Today, "the policy is part of an initiative that includes $3.5 million in funding for research, an annual conference of team physicians and athletic trainers, and a head trauma task force."
According to the report, we won't know the specifics of the new policy until late July, but Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott plans to tackle this issue head on:
Pac-12 institutions house the leading medical trainers, doctors, and scientists working to enhance student-athlete health and well being, said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. Our athletic departments and coaches have been very progressive in this area and are deeply committed to advancing these efforts,” he added. “This initiative seizes on our opportunity to embrace, support, and coordinate all these efforts and build a framework to advance them with new resources, expertise and funding.
Player safety has become a much larger concern throughout the sport of football as more and more information is released on brain damage and concussions. The Ivy League was one of the first to jump on board, according to AL.com. It has now limited full-contact practices to only twice a week, which is far lower than the maximum of five under NCAA guidelines.
The game itself is also changing due to the risk of head injuries. Last season, college football moved the kickoff starting point from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line, increasing the chances of touchbacks in hopes of making the game safer.
The NCAA allows 15 spring practices, and live contact takes place in 80 percent of those practices, according to Rod Gilmore of ESPN. More than 50 percent of those practices includes tackling, which helps contribute to serious injuries later in life.
According to the NCAA's website, 2.5 concussions were reported for every 1,000 game-related exposures during the 2011 season. Of course, consistent violent collisions in practice don't help lower the alarming numbers.
This is only part of the ongoing process to help make the game safer.