Thursday, April 17, 2014 12:27 PM
Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr. The National Federation of State High School Associations implemented rule changes to prevent football players from getting injured when their helmets come off during games.
Published on: Wednesday, August 28, 2013
By Daniel Kucin Jr.
The National Federation of State High School Associations has implemented new rule changes to reduce injuries among high school football players.
In an effort to minimize the risk of injury in high school football, NFHS added three additional new rules to take effect this season. These rules prevent players from losing their helmets during games.
There were also 10 rule changes approved by the federation in front of the NFHS Board of Directors earlier this year. Players are required to sit out one play if their helmet comes off while the ball is live, and the committee approved three additional rules that are extensions of last year’s rule change.
“Players’ safety has been and will continue to be the top priority for members of the NFHS Football Rules Committee,” said Brad Garrett, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association. “These rule changes are regarding helmetless players are more examples of the group’s commitment to minimize risk within the game.”
In addition to these changes, there is a new listing in Rule 9-6-4, which states that it is illegal participation “for a player whose helmet comes completely off during a down to continue to participate beyond the immediate action in which the player is engaged.”
“With its continued focus on risk minimization, the committee determined that a helmetless player shall not block, tackle or otherwise participate beyond the immediate action in which the player is engaged when the helmet came completely off,” said Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and medicine.
The committee added additional language to Rule 3-5-10 to clarify that if the helmet comes completely off during the down or subsequent dead-ball action related to the down — and is not directly attributable to a foul by the opponent — the player must leave the field for a least one down.
A rule that is sure to change the way the game will be played this season is a revision on the Pass Interference Penalty. The 15-yard penalty will remain for both offensive and defensive pass interference, but the loss of a down has been removed for offensive pass interference. The automatic first down has been eliminated from defensive pass interference.
“Offensive and defensive pass interference, and the penalty structure related to these fouls has been debated many times in recent years,” Garrett said. “Proposals that either deleted the loss of down or the automatic first down — but not both — failed to gain support among committee members. The proposal to eliminate both components, thus not upsetting the balance between offense and defense, was the key factor in the adoption of the new rule.”