When the Illinois High School Association introduced changes to preseason football practice in May of 2013 in hopes of making the sport safer, some local coaches predicted that was just the beginning.
Turns out they were right.
Last week, the IHSA announced a by-law, which eliminates full pads and full contact (full contact is defined as football drills or game situations where live action occurs) during the 25 days of summer camp, passed by a 170-87 vote by principals and athletic directors from across the state. Practices with helmets and shoulders pad also will now be limited to 14 hours per week and a maximum of 15 out of the 25 days of the summer.
“We believe this revision minimizes risk to football student-athletes while allowing for the teaching of appropriate fundamentals,” IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said on the IHSA website. “This is another important step in making high school football as safe as possible while putting all of our schools on an even playing field regarding football activities during the summer.”
Although the IHSA changed the rules regarding summer practice, the move won’t change the way most coaches do things during the summer.
Paul Parpet, Addison Trail’s longtime coach, an assistant at Downers Grove North the last four seasons and Lisle’s head coach starting this summer, had nothing but positive comments about the new rule.
“I think it’s a smart move,” Parpet said. “The summer starts June 10, and you could potentially have kids in full pads going full speed right away. Something had to be done. I think it’s a good idea.”
Parpet said he never went full tilt during his tenure at AT, and while he was at DGN, the Trojans never did any full-contact drills in the summer. The new rules won’t impact his first season with Lisle.
“It’s not going to effect things one bit,” he said. “I remember the days when in the summer you couldn’t have any pads, not even helmets, and we survived.
“You can still put in your fundamentals. I think you can still teach the proper [tackling] technique, making sure kids have their heads in the right spot, without going full contact and full pads.”
Staff writer Scott Schmid contributed to this report