April 24, 2021
After a five-year concussion study, the NCAA might be making significant changes to pre-season football.
Concussions and CTE have been a major cause for concern when it comes to football safety. After a five-year long study on over 650 college football players was released this spring, the NCAA could be making changes to fall camp and practice.
The results of the study showed that along with concussions, “repetitive head impact exposure (HIE) may increase risk for long-term neurologic health problems in football players.”
The study took place from 2015 to 2019 and evaluated 658 NCAA football players. A total of 528,684 head impacts were recorded. That is an average of 803 head impacts per athlete over five years, and 160 per athlete, per season
The NCAA legislature is looking into reducing opportunities for head impacts in the preseason, due to results of the study that “concussion incidence and HIE among college football players are disproportionately higher in the preseason than regular season, and most concussions and HIE occur during football practices, not games.”
In the past, fall camp consisted of 21 full padded practices. The NCAA is looking to cut that by more than half, having only eight.
Other changes the NCAA is exploring is completely eliminating any type of collision exercises, and reducing scrimmages to only two per camp, instead of three and a half.
The preseason has already seen changes over the past few years. Two-a-day practices were banned in 2017, and the number of overall practices was reduced in 2018 from 29 to 25.
These new safety adjustments have not been officially decided upon, but if they are, the NCAA committee is hoping it will significantly reduce the number of head injuries and concussions in players.
The NCAA Division I council is expected to make a final decision on the changes at its meeting on May 19th.