The Ivy League will announce Wednesday that it will limit full-contact football practices in an effort to minimize chances for head injuries.
The New York Times is reporting on the changes, which it says go beyond NCAA rules and are the most stringent of any conference in college football.
The new rules come in the midst of a sea-change in football's treating of concussions -- from the professional down to the peewee level -- alongside a growing body of evidence showing the dangers of head trauma.
Penn football knows all-too-well these dangers. Last fall former Penn football player Owen Thomas was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head trauma. Thomas committed suicide in his off-campus apartment in April 2010.
From the NYTimes article:
“Because of the seriousness of the potential consequences, the presidents determined the league needed to take proactive steps in protecting the welfare of our student-athletes,” said Robin Harris, the executive director of the Ivy League.
The Times makes no direct reference to Thomas. According to Harvard coach Tim Murphy, though, the new rule change may not have a major impact.
“I’m not sure there will be any dramatic changes, because the changes over the last few years for dealing with head hits have changed dramatically,” said Tim Murphy, the football coach at Harvard. “If we want young people to continue to fall in love with this great sport, we have to protect the athletes.”
Scottie Rogers of the Ivy League office said a news release will be available tomorrow so check back to the Buzz for more on this story.