The South Dakota High School Activities Association hopes to implement a new policy for next football season, which will help reduce the amount of concussions in South Dakota high school football players.
Recently, the National Federation of State High Schools Association (NFHS) released a study to educate players, coaches, Athletic Directors and parents of the dangers of head injuries, more specifically concussions. Since the studies release, multiple states have implemented policies to reduce concussions in their student athletes.
This has left the SDHSAA in a similar position of implementing their own policy to reducing contact, which in turn will reduce the amount of concussions.
John Krogstrand with the SDHSAA said concussions are a very serious issue in South Dakota. He said some of the factors being discussed are number of days a week a student athlete can participate in contact events.
“Limiting the number of quarters a kid can play in a week, limiting the number of times a team can be in contact during practices and games during the week,” said Krogstrand. “Then also in pre-season practices, ensuring that two-a-day practices are not both contact events.”
Krogstrand said these types of restrictions have worked elsewhere, so South Dakota feels its time to join the club by implementing their own set of rules on the matter.
“Other states have kind of piloted these programs and these procedures,” said Krogstrand. “And these policies have found that it has significantly reduces the effect of the number of injuries in practice, and not necessarily had a significant effect on kids being injured in games.”
Krogstrand explained some concern for how lack of contact in practice could carry over into games negatively.
“Basically the concern comes back, are the kids being trained enough to hit and take a hit,” said Krogstrand. “So far, the statistical significance shows there’s no major downside to it, so if this is a way we can protect our kids, then this is a way we need to go.”
The South Dakota High School Activities Association is currently working on a proposal, which they hope to present for a first reading in March. Krogstrand said the plan is for the second reading, and adoption of the policy, to take place in either April or June. This would ensure a new policy in place for the upcoming fall season.