Athlete safety trumps traditional pre-season football practices

Updated: Aug. 7, 2017 at 6:51 PM CDT
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(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - On a blazing hot August day, Park Crossing football players are only feeling the weight of the season – and not the pressure of a sun-scorched practice.

"They used to hit everyday," Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese said. "Today we don't allow contact on consecutive days, we don't allow two-a-days in full pads, kids today are more safe than they've ever been."

Savarese feels good about the association's advancements, requiring more of coaches than 'X's and O's,' with annual courses covering everything from hydration and heat acclamation to concussions and cardiac arrest.

"Our coaches have to attend a mandatory medical advisory meeting. Every school is required to attend this meeting. We reinforce the policies," Savarese said.

Savarse, a retired, veteran high school football coach, doesn't believe it's affecting the caliber of the players, or their competitiveness on the field.

"We had some of the highest attendance last year," Savarese said. "We've just learned there's a better way to do it."

All student athletes must pass a physical and be cleared by a doctor to play. If a concussion is reported, the player is pulled from the game and cannot play again until cleared by a doctor.

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