A bill that would have required high school football teams to limit tackling in practices to one day a week didn't make it through the Illinois General Assembly. But its sponsor hopes the state's prep sports governing body adopts the measure aimed at concussion prevention.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Carol Sente failed to make it out of a House committee earlier this month even though it had at least 10 co-sponsors. Concussions have become a source of increasing concern in football and other contact sports.
Now Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat, wants the Illinois High School Association to adopt her ideas. The measure also would have required football coaches to complete concussion-prevention training.
"My hope is they take these suggestions that I have seriously and then incorporate them into their own rules, and then legislation would not be necessary," she said in an interview Friday.
Sente says she's asked the IHSA to report back to the legislature by May 31.
One of the group's committees plans to meet April 17 to discuss health-related football issues and could make recommendations on concussion prevention policies, IHSA spokesman Matt Troha said.
"A recommendation is possible, but certainly not guaranteed," he said, adding that the organization plans to update the General Assembly after the meeting.
Whether contact limits come from that meeting or not, though, the president of the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association said Wednesday that he believes they're all but inevitable.
"I think that's the way things are going these days," said Greg King, who is athletic director at Sterling High School in Sterling and, until this year, was its head football coach. "Obviously, with concussions being (such a problem), it is probably time we as coaches look at ways to keep our players safer."
Reports of post-career health problems that have plagued a number of former pro football players have driven discussions about the harm caused by repeated blows to the head.
Some states have passed laws intended to shield young players from head injuries, while the NFL and NHL now require any player who has a concussion to be cleared by a neurologist before resuming play. And the NFL, as part of its labor agreement, has reduced the amount of time players can practice.
In Illinois, there are no limits on how many days a team practice with full contact in a week, only a required period of what the IHSA calls acclimatization where players ease into contact. !~ The Associated Press
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Kylie Carrasco hit a home run and scored two runs.
Riverside-Brookfield 25-25, Illiana Christian 14-17: Mike Fiene had seven kills for the Vikings (1-3), but couldn't keep up with the Bulldogs.
Trevor Dekker added 15 assists for the Vikings.
Joliet West 25-25, Marian Catholic 19-15: The Spartans (0-7) got three kills from Jake Piekarski, but Joliet West got the upper hand and kept Marian winless.