As awareness surrounding head injuries in football continues to rise, Ivy League coaches have taken a major step by completely eliminating contact from practice during the season, The New York Times reports.
While new NCAA rules, like the controversial targeting rule, help keep concussions out of football, the larger problem is that contact from subconcussive blows that are prevalent on nearly every hit are just as unsafe. Many trainers and researchers have stated that exposure to hits is what needs to be curbed, and that means less full-contact practice.
"The problem is that the very nature of the way the game is played currently results in an extensive exposure to subconcussive blows," Boston University's Dr. Robert Stern said.
This dramatic step by the Ivy League is a move toward the decreased exposure that Stern and others say is necessary to make football safer.
However, it's also an admission by a league under the NCAA umbrella that full-contact practice is potentially unsafe. This could pose legal problems for the NCAA, as opponents in court could use it as evidence that the current NCAA rules, which allow two full-contact practices per week during the season and do not focus on subconcussive hits, are not enough.