SAN ANTONIO -- Should full contact football practice be limited to once a week? A state lawmaker says yes.
Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, of District 38, filed House Bill 887 to limit full contact practice time to once a week for middle and high school football players. He states doing so would prevent head injuries.
According to a study, about 8,000 Texas high school students suffer from concussions each year and many others might suffer from undiagnosed brain injuries.
"You can't train as hard as you play every single day," said Dr. Evan Ratner. "You will break down and lot faster."
Dr. Ratner works with students and professional athletes. He believes HB 887 might help prevent injuries.
The NFL and NCAA already have limits on full contact practice. So, is this a game-changer for high school sports?
“It's a contact sport and we have to condition athletes if they choose to participate in that sport,” said Stan Laing, NISD athletics director.
Laing said coaches and trainers are very concerned about players' safety. According to Laing, the UIL requires districts to monitor any player who has suffered a concussion, documenting the recovery process to make sure they are ready to get back on the field.
He doesn't believe less practice time will improve safety.
“One day of contact, you state concerning yourself with not conditioning our student athletes to be prepared for that actual contact on game night,” according Laing.
At one time, Rep. Lucio suggested baseline testing to check the cognitive brain activity for students who want to play contact sports like football or soccer.
Ratner said the testing also helps doctors and trainers determine if a student has fully recovered.
The medical director of Impact Urgent Care has proposed baseline testing to several school districts.