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UW Study Says Concussions are Down With New Tackle Practices

A University of Wisconsin study shows that high school football concussions are down and the reason might be rules limiting full contact tackling during practices.

The rule, which first went into effect for the 2014 season, prohibits full contact during the first week of practice, limits full contact to 75 minutes per week during week two, and caps it at 60 minutes thereafter.

Researchers found that the rate of sports-related concussions sustained during high school football practice was more than twice as high in the two seasons before the rule change in 2014. The study used data from Wisconsin high school sports teams through the Wisconsin Interscholastic Sports Injury Research Network.

“This study confirms what athletic trainers in high-school football have long believed about the association of full-contact drills or practices and the likelihood of concussion,” said Tim McGuine, senior scientist in the department of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “This is probably also true for other football injuries such as sprains, fractures and dislocations.”

The study was presented Saturday at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference in Washington, D.C.

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