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Dr. Williams for U.S. News & World Report: Is Limiting Tackling During Youth Football Practice a Good Idea?


TO ADDRESS PLAYER safety and injury risk, the governor of California recently signed a bill that places restrictions on the amount of time allowed for tackling during any given week at football practice for high school and youth athletes. Aimed at reducing the amount of contact allowed during football practice (reducing exposure), this move follows other state and athletic legislatures in the country, all of which have received a lot of media attention.

So: Can it work? Should other high school programs follow suit? In my opinion, this is a reasonable step, but we must monitor to prove the desired effect and to watch for unintended consequences. As always, we must look at the bigger picture, and we must ensure the new rules are accompanied by quality education and knowledge transfer, so that the intended behavioral changes are realized and effective.

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