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BC-FBH--Michigan-Limited Contact,1st Ld-Writethru

May 8, 2019
The organization that governs Michigan high school athletes has voted to trim the amount of full-contact football practice from a maximum of 90 to 30 minutes per week and to drastically reduce the amount of full contact allowed in preseason workouts. The Michigan High School Athletic Association voted this week on the reductions for full-contact practices. It joins New Jersey in implementing rules favored by Practice Like Pros, a nonprofit devoted to reducing injuries in youth football.

GAYLORD, Mich. (AP) — The organization that governs Michigan high school athletes has voted to trim the amount of full-contact football practice from a maximum of 90 to 30 minutes per week and to drastically reduce the amount of full contact allowed in preseason workouts.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association voted this week on the reductions for full-contact practices, joining New Jersey as the second state to implement rules favored by Practice Like Pros , a nonprofit devoted to reducing injuries in youth football.

The group cites studies that say 58% of concussions in high school football happen on the practice field, compared with 4% in the NFL.

Previously, Michigan allowed one full-contact practice per day in the preseason. Now, teams will get a maximum of six hours a week, including scrimmages, before the season starts.

Michigan also updated the definition of “collision” contact — contact that takes place in full pads, at game speed where tackles are executed.

Mark Uyl, executive director of the MHSAA, said many programs in the state already had been adhering to limits on full-contact practice, but “formalizing these practice contact limits within new definitions will only help more coaches statewide as we continue to teach today’s game of football the right way while keeping it as safe as possible.”

Several other states currently have contact restrictions in place or are considering them.