How seriously should we take public criticism of tackle football when that public promotes boxing or cage fighting? Or how seriously should we take public criticism of football played with helmets when that public allows motorcyclists to ride without any helmets at all?
This fickle if not hypocritical focus on football deserves to be exposed.
However, and more importantly, this does not reduce our obligation to rise above the obvious questions of fair and balanced criticism and keep pressing for a safer environment for schools’ most popular participation sport.
In Michigan this has led to new limitations on head-to-head contact in football practices that began for more than 600 high schools this week. Specifically, no team or individual may participate in more than one collision practice per day before the first game, and no more than two collision practices per week after the first game.
The new policies promote instruction in proper blocking and tackling technique. It is full speed head-to-head contact that is further reduced, not full speed shoulder contact with sleds, shields and dummies nor slow speed contact between players.
Last month, and perhaps two years too late to be helpful, the National Federation of State High School Associations hosted a high-profile, high-powered summit to discuss practice policies of the kind that we developed, debated and adopted during the past school year to be ready for this 2014 season.