Apr 22, 2021 - Sports

Concussion study inspires practice limits to college football preseason

Illustration of a brain with football stitching across the side.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Major changes could be coming to college football's grueling preseason in an attempt to create a safer environment for athletes.

Driving the news: In response to a recent study that found that most concussions occur during practice, the Football Oversight Committee plans to recommend new rules for fall camp.

Possible changes, per SI...

  • Reduce full-padded practices (from 21 to eight).
  • Reduce scrimmages (from 3.5 to two).
  • Abolish collision exercises (like the "Oklahoma Drill").

By the numbers: The study reviewed 68 concussions in Division I college football from 2015 to 2019, finding that 72% happened outside of games.

  • Preseason training was deemed the most deleterious, comprising just one-fifth of the time studied but nearly half of the concussions.

The big picture: This is the latest attempt to dial back the intensity of fall camp. In 2017, the NCAA banned two-a-days, and in 2018, preseason practices were reduced from 29 to 25.

The last word: "Concussions in games are inevitable, but concussions in practice are preventable," write concussion experts Robert C. Cantu and Christopher J. Nowinski.

Go deeper