Central Board Adopts Current Football Practice Contact Safety Guidelines As AHSAA By-Law


     The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control approved the current recommended football practice contact guidelines in place for health and safety to become a by-law Tuesday at the AHSAA Spring Central Board meeting at the AHSAA Office.
      The guidelines require the first two days of fall practice to be in shorts and helmets, followed by shoulder pads and helmets on the third day not to exceed 90 minutes. On the fourth day, shoulder pads and helmets are to be used with the practice not exceeding 120 minutes. On the fifth practice day, one full speed contact practice, not to exceed 90 minutes of full speed contact is allowed.
     Week 2 would allow alternating days of full-speed contact practice, not to exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of full-speed contact practice per week. In addition, one intra-squad scrimmage would be allowed in week 2.
     Beginning week 3, alternating days of full-speed contact practice, not to exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of full-speed contact practice per week, will be permitted. One interscholastic scrimmage or contest will be allowed in week 3.
     Week 4 through the end of the season, 90 minutes of full-speed contact practice is permitted.
      During Spring Evaluation, alternating days of full-speed contact practice, not to exceed a combined total of 120 minutes of full contact per week, are allowed. One interscholastic scrimmage contest is allowed during the spring evaluation. The complete guidelines can be found at www.ahsaa.com.
      The board voted to require all schools to follow the guidelines that were recommended in 2013 that restrict football practice contact. The AHSAA, along with Texas, Arizona and Maryland, has been a national leader in developing good health and safety practices. The NFHS, in its recent report on football contact, cited the AHSAA’s safety recommendations and its reduction of injuries as a result.
      The AHSAA Medical Advisory Board, co-chaired by Dr. Jimmy Robinson of Tuscaloosa and Dr. Lawrence Lemak of Birmingham, also more clearly defined “contact” in its latest recommendation.
      “This is a landmark decision by the Central Board,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “Our medical advisory committee, at our meeting last February, agreed that the AHSAA’s recommendations in place were adequate and necessary. They also asked us to define more clearly the definition of “contact” and the Central Board agreed. We thank our medical advisory committee, which we think is the best in the nation, and our Central Board for helping us take a leadership role in developing these very important guidelines.”
      The practice requirements for high schools and middle schools will be placed in the AHSAA Handbook and go into effect beginning with the 2015-16 school year.
       Hartselle High School head football coach Bob Godsey, a member of the AHSAA Football Coaches Committee and the Alabama Football Coaches Association, was also present to express coaches’ support for these guidelines.
      The Central Board also approved requiring all schools to have athletic emergency plans on file for all sports and all facilities by June 1, 2015. A template will be developed by the AHSAA and will be made available to member schools. The Central Board approved requiring CPR training for all coaches to include AED training.
     The Central Board also instructed  the AHSAA, in conjunction with its Baseball Coaches Committee, to study baseball’s current length of season, total number of games played, the pitching limitation rule and to clearly define of what constitutes a tournament. The group was asked to bring back recommendations to the July Central Board meeting. 
    In other Central Board action, Spring Garden High School principal Mike Welsh was elected to serve as Central Board president for the 2015-16/2016-17 two-year term. Hackleburg principal John Hardin was elected vice president.
      The AHSAA Legislative Council also voted on 21 legislative proposals submitted by member schools for 2015 and ratified one.
      The Legislative Council voted 27-5 to ratify a proposal submitted by Bob Jones High School to restrict floor access at regular-season wrestling tournaments to a specific number of school or team personnel.  

        Passage of a legislative proposal requires a two-thirds vote of the 32-member council.

In other board action Tuesday:

§  Approved Covenant Christian School of Mobile as a middle-school member of the AHSAA beginning the 2015-16 school year.

§  Approved Lindsay Lane Christian Academy of Athens for associate membership of the AHSAA beginning 2015-16.

§  Approved the 2014 Super 7 audit, the 2015 State and Regional Basketball Tournament audits, Super Section and State Wrestling audits and Indoor Track financial report.

§  Approved Regional Basketball Tournament sites (Dothan, Alabama State, Jacksonville State, Wallace-Hanceville) for 2015-16 season.

§  Approved the State Swim Meet contract (with Auburn University) for the next three years, 2015-17.

§  Approved the projected expenses for the 2015 NFHS Summer Meeting in New Orleans.

§  Approved the 2015-16 Calendar of Events, 2015-16 Sports Calendar and five-year Sports Calendar.

§  Heard an update from AHSADCA Director Alvin Briggs concerning the 2015 Summer Conference and All-Star Sports Week in Montgomery July 20-25.

§  Heard a report from Assistant Director Denise Ainsworth detailing results of the recent member-school AHSAA survey.
Set June 18, 2014 as the date for new Central Board Member Orientation.

§  Set dates for future Central Board meetings – July 29, 2015, Oct. 21, 2015, Feb. 3, 2016 and April 12, 2016.

§  Set June 18, 2015 as the date for new Central Board Member Orientation.


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