Horse-Collar Tackle Banned In High School Sports
The horse-collar tackle has been banned in high school football. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the governing board organization for almost 19,000 high schools in the United States, it will be illegal to grab the inside back or side collar of the runner’s shoulder pads or jersey and subsequently pull the runner to the ground, effective 2009. The penalty will be 15 yards.
“Though this play does not happen often, we must ensure that our coaches and officials understand the importance of penalizing this act,” said Julian Tackett, assistant commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee.
In 2005 the National Football League (NFL) outlawed the horse-collar tackle. The ban against the play is often referred to as the “Roy Williams Rule.” Williams, who played for the Detroit Lions, came under scrutiny during the 2004 season for repeated use of the horse-collar technique, in which a defender grabs an offensive player on the back of his shoulder pads and yanks him down. In studying the tackle, the NFL concluded that it had contributed to several lower extremity injuries in 2004.
The NCAA banned the horse-collar tackle in 2008, hoping it would lead to fewer injuries. Trainers and physicians agreed that players can suffer seriously back injuries when the ball carrier is immediately snapped to the ground by being jerked quickly.
“Football can result in serious…sometimes life-threatening…injuries to young players,” said Penny Hastings, author of How To Win A Sports Scholarship, (http://www.winasportsscholarship.com) “and it’s vital that the NFHS addresses risk minimization issues for football as well as other high school sports.”
Studies show that football has the highest injury rating among other sports for high school athletes. In a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), football injuries during the 2005-06 season was almost double that of other sports.
In terms of the number of participants, football is also the most popular high school sport for boys. According to the 2007-08 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, 1,108,286 boys played 11-player football, with another 27,075 involved in six-, eight- and nine-player football. Additionally, 1,225 girls played high school football in 2007-08.
About the Author
Penny Hastings is the co-author (along with her son Todd Caven) of How To Win A Sports Scholarship, 3rd edition (Redwood Creek Publishing, 2007, 192 pages, $24.95), a step-by-step guide for high school and 2-year college student-athletes who want to play their sport in college and help pay their college expenses, too. Hastings gives presentations and workshops to student-athletes and their parents, guidance counselors, coaches and others interested in helping kids learn about college sports and how to play the recruiting game successfully. Hastings can be reached at email@example.com or visit the website: www.winasportsscholarship.com. Hastings is also the author of Sports for Her, A Reference Guide for Teenage Girls (Greenwood Publishing, 1999), which is currently being revised for a softcover 2nd edition by Redwood Creek Publishing (www.winasportsscholarship.com).
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