The Arizona Interscholastic Association Limits Contact in High School Football Practices to Further Reduce Concussions and Other Brain Injuries

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The AIA Executive Board votes to approve the recommendation from the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee limiting contact during football practice in the pre-season and regular season.

“... Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our students so we are pleased with the Executive Board's decision," says Associate Executive Director, Chuck Schmidt

The AIA Executive Board voted in favor of implementing a recommendation from the AIA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) that will limit contact during football practice in the pre and regular seasons. The recommendation was made to further reduce concussions and other brain injuries. This is the first state high school association in the nation to take this proactive step towards safety and protect student athletes.

“With so much information coming to light from the medical community, the AIA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee felt our policies should extend beyond officiated games in dealing with concussion prevention. Our top priority is to ensure the safety of our students so we are pleased with the Executive Board’s decision,” says Associate Executive Director Chuck Schmidt.

In 2011, the AIA passed a rule to ensure that kids and their gear are appropriated inspected before they can get back in the game if their helmet is dislodged during play. The National Federation of High School Associations adopted a similar rule after seeing the results produced from the AIA’s decision. In association with Barrow’s Institute, the AIA and Dr. Javier Cardenas, SMAC Chair launched the largest high school education program, known as Brainbook to increase concussion awareness among players, coaches and parents. To date more than 150,000 students have completed the program. This landmark recommendation to reduce practice contact was developed through collaboration between the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and Football Sports Advisory Committee and is the next logical step to prevent and reduce concussions among high school athletes. The rule provides that no more than ½ of football practice be contact practice in the pre-season and no more than 1/3 of practice time be contact practice during the regular season. Contact is defined as padded athletes in contact with each other.

Dr. Javier Cardenas said, “I’m proud of the leadership the AIA has demonstrated. By taking such unprecedented action, they ‘re demonstrating the level of concern that exists to keep Arizona’s kids safe. It makes me proud to be an Arizonan.”

Dr. Javier Cardenas and Mr. Chuck Schmidt are available for media comments and questions.

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About the Arizona Interscholastic Association:
The AIA, is voluntary association of public and private Arizona high schools. Since 1913, the organization has created and sustained interscholastic activities that encourage maximum student participation by providing AIA member schools with an even playing field to ensure fair and equitable competition. The AIA believes that providing interscholastic activities for Arizona high school students creates personal development opportunities with a balanced focus on academics and extracurricular activities

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Shay Evers, Public Information Officer
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