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UIL medical committee urging changes to football practice

AMARILLO- Days of intense, full-contact drills could soon be limited for high school football teams if the University Interscholastic League Medical Advisory Committee has their way, and they usually do.

"So far every recommendation recommended by the advisory committee has passed," UIL Athletic Director Dr. Mark Cousins said.

The proposed rule would limit high school football programs in Texas to only 90 minutes of full-contact, game-speed drills during regular season and playoffs.

Amarillo ISD Athletic Director Brad Thiessen says his coaches already limit intense drills during those times..

"We do maybe ten minutes a day at the most of a full contact drill," Thiessen said.

Thiessen says most coaches in the state will not be affected if the change happens and it could as soon as this fall. The medical committee has already unanimously approved the recommendation, and now the UIL Legislative Committee and the Commissioner of Education have to approve it.

"I would venture to say that none of coaches in AISD would even change their schedules, their practice schedules. Because they don't do that much anyway," Thiessen said.

The recommendation appears to be a compromise to House Bill 887, a proposed law that would limit full-pad practices to once a week in an attempt to reduce concussion risks. Texas coaches are sometimes presumed to be careless about such precautions, and the UIL is just making sure they have guidelines.

"Coaches in Texas get a bad rep sometimes because football is so big and so you hear the publicity about the injuries," Thiessen said. "But as a coach, and I know the coaches in Texas, are very concerned about the health of their students."

The possible limits to full-contact training could take effect as soon as this June.

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