Adam Nelson 15′ & Kade Messner 17′ – In an effort to reduce the number of injuries (more specifically concussions) high school football players receive, the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has passed new state laws regarding athletic practices. Having full pads is off limits until the 5th day of practice and a maximum of two full collision practices per week are both new changes coaches have to face this year.
Other rules changed the maximum time spent at practice: A single practice cannot exceed 3 hours, and there can only be up to 5 hours of practice per day. Most coaches, players, and parents agree with the new rules that are in place, but with all change comes controversy. As the season progresses, teams will be forced to adapt to a new, safer practice schedule, while still trying to uphold the winning traditions that have been ironed in over the years.
“Hopefully learning these safety rules will keep our beloved quarterback Paul Hurley healthy and on the field, but for real this could be life changing,” receiver/lineman Josh Bilski (11) jokes.
In an effort to further educate the team, Romeo teamed up with USA Football and ESPN on Monday, September 8th to address these issues and teach our athletes about the complex challenges of health and safety in youth and high school football. A presentation by a medical expert from USA Football’s “Heads Up Tackling” program, as well as a special guest appearance by Former NFL Lions quarterback Eric Hipple, provided Romeo’s football organization with safety tips to help prevent concussions.
“I think it it was a cool experience for all the football players and the rest of the program.” Nick Blankenburg (11) explains.“It will be something that they remember and it is cool how Romeo High School is getting involved in different experiences.”
As if a visit from Eric Hipple is not exciting enough, the presentation aired on ESPN’s Monday Night Football for the whole world to see. This opportunity became a reality because of the football coaches at RHS. The varsity team’s co-head coaches, Jason Couch and Curt Reinas, both attended ten Heads Up Football meetings in order to learn more about keeping our players safe and healthy for an entire season. Because of their dedication and time spent attending the meetings, the NFL and Heads Up Football decided to reward our program with this awesome event.
“We coaches had to go online and take a little class.” Coach Couch said. “The coaches and I did it because there is such a negative stigma about football and concussions now a days, so we wanted to assure the Romeo community that we are serious about keeping our players safe. I believe were the only coaching staff in the state to have all of our coaches to go through the training.”