Ivy League teams eye tackle practice ban

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LOS ANGELES: American football coaches of prestigious Ivy League college teams have voted to eliminate full-contact tackling during training in a radical measure aimed at mitigating the risk of brain injury, it was reported on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

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The Ivy League, which includes Harvard, Yale and Princeton amongst its eight-member conference, had already reduced the number of full-contact practices a team could hold in a 2011 crackdown.

The coaches’ vote was first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Ivy League, Scottie Rodgers, emphasized that the vote still faced several procedural hurdles before it could come into effect.

“This is something that has only been discussed and is not approved in any way,” Rodgers wrote in an email to Agence France-Presse.

“This conversation will ultimately be turned into a proposal that will have to go through our Ivy League legislative process.

“The decision tree for most major proposals/decisions that affects athletics in the Ivy League first starts with our athletics directors, then to the policy committee and then finally to the presidents.”

A decision would likely come in June, Rodgers added.

The latest safety measure, which would ban tackling during training in the regular season, comes against a backdrop of mounting concern over the health risks associated with America’s most popular sport.

More than 100 deceased players have been found to be suffering from the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in recent years.

CTE is believed to be caused by head trauma that can result in memory loss, dementia and depression.

A recent study of deceased NFL players found 96 percent of those tested suffered from CTE.

In April last year, the NFL agreed to settle a lawsuit and pay $765 million to about 5,000 former players over health claims.

A Hollywood movie starring Will Smith as the neuropathologist who helped make the link between concussions sustained by NFL players and CTE hit theaters last year.

AFP

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