Two-A-Day Practices Sacked By NCAA
April Decision To End Tradition Aims To Tackle Head Injury Risks
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – For this year, college football preseason will play by different rules.
Last month, the NCAA Division Two Presidents Council eliminated “two-a-day” practices in the weeks leading up to the fall season.
Division Two now joins Division One and Division Three, which already banned the tradition.
Two-a-days typically brought two tough practices a day for athletes.
Dr. Thayne Munce with the Sanford Sports Science Institute said he applauds the NCAA decision to get rid of them.
He said it could reduce the risk of head injuries.
“Now, we want to give players more time to recover before they practice again and exert themselves. We know when someone has a concussion, that if you play too early or exert yourself too soon, that could make the problem worse and make your injury worse,” said Dr. Munce.
While it’s a big change, University of Sioux Falls Head Football Coach Jon Anderson said this decision isn’t a blitz to many teams.
“Most coaches have seen this coming,” said Anderson.
Augustana University Head Football Coach Jerry Olszewski said they’ve already moved away from multiple rigorous practices.
“I was talking with several coaches this past week in our league that we don’t have many full contact practices, we just don’t. We’re not in a position where we can put our kids in jeopardy like that and for those programs that are doing that, that’s probably why this rule came about,” said Olszewski.
The one concern for coaches like Anderson and Olszewski: unintended consequences of less practice time.
“The less opportunities you have to practice, are the guys going to be in shape? Are their lungs ready? Are their legs underneath them? You open yourself up potentially for some other health issues,” said Anderson.
“They have to learn how to tackle, correctly. They have to learn how to fit things, correctly, and that’s practice. If you just let them loose in a game without the preparation to do that, then you’re going to get at odd angles where the head might come into play or you’re behind a play and maybe have to do things that you aren’t accustomed to in practice,” said Olszewski.
Whether or not eliminating two-a-days will have an impact remains to be seen.
Dr. Munce said it’s a good start.
“We don’t know what the perfect formula is but this is probably a step in the right direction to increase recovery time and improve well-being of football players,” said Dr. Munce.
While the decision to ban two-a-days is effective immediately, it still needs to be ratified at the NCAA Convention in January 2018.