JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—The Florida High School Athletic Association is putting new procedures in place to protect student athletes from concussions.
The new mandatory guidelines limit the amount of time players can spend in live contact during practice. Live contact drills involve game-like conditions with players being taken to the ground.
Before the first week of the regular season, live contact is now limited to 40 minutes per practice and only two consecutive days. Once the season starts it decreases to 30 minutes, with no more than 80 minutes per week, and no more than 3 days during that week.
David Penland is the Head Coach for State Champion University Christian. He said the new guidelines are tough and said the biggest challenge will come with no longer having consecutive days of live action.
"We're going to have to be creative because you're trying to get as much practice and live time as you can to help these guys out, because there's nothing like live action," said Penland.
FHSAA spokesperson Kyle Niblett said similar practice guidelines reduced the number of concussions in Wisconsin state athletics by half.
"This is not new to the majority of coaches around the state, and the ones that say you're not giving us enough time to tackle and things like that, we're trying to keep you fresh for Friday nights and Saturdays and we're trying to keep you safe and we're trying to keep your kids safe, so you can have all of your players throughout the entire season," said Niblett.
Overall, Penland said the new guidelines wont change his team too much and that his team only spends about 15 minutes during practice in live contact.
He said he does appreciate the effort to make things safer.
"The technology and what's in place now, the safety of the kids is important to everybody and us here too," said Penland.