(CBS) — High school football practices are officially allowed to begin today in Illinois, and with that, some added rules and reminders about head safety.
Because of fear of concussions or other injuries and other reasons like sport specializations, Illinois High School Association football administrator Craig Anderson says, fewer young people are playing high school football in Illinois.
But, he says, football remains the number one student participation sport in the state and he adds that equipment and instruction are getting better. He says that, starting this school year, football coaches are required to take a class on concussions–what causes them, how to recognize signs of them and what to do.
Anderson says the IHSA is stressing to coaches the importance of teaching players not to use their heads when involved in tackles. If they do, they’ll be penalized for it: 15 yards or ejection from the game if it’s a flagrant violation.
For today and tomorrow, players are only allowed to wear helmets. No pads. Wednesday through Friday, they can wear helmets and shoulder pads. After that, they’ll be allowed to wear all their padded gear.
Anderson thinks an increase in the number of concussions of football players is due…in part…to better recognition of symptoms like dizziness and vomiting.