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CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — In an effort to make high school football safer, officials in New Jersey are implementing new practice rules. They are now the strictest in the nation.
As the game of football continues to try and reinvent itself, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association may have just thrown the nation a lead block.
The NJSIAA will now allow just 15 minutes per week for its teams to practice tackling during the season, down from 90 a season ago.
“When I played, if you saw stars, it was a great hit,” Camden High School head coach Dwayne Savage said.
Previously unlimited, Savage and his coaching staff will have just six hours in the preseason to practice full contact.
“Football is under attack, so for us to try and keep everybody healthy, I think it is a very important rule,” Savage said.
The state is also battling a drop in participation, nearly seven percent, according to the New York Times.
Over 1,700 kids deciding to pass on Friday night lights.
“If people are afraid of being injured, if people are afraid of head injuries and this is something that can give them more confidence that they can get these benefits and still play with lessening these head injuries, then I think it’s a benefit for us,” Kevin Carty of the NJSIAA executive committee said.
Carty helped introduce the new rules.
“There’s enough things we can do without tackling to the ground where we can still be fundamentally solid at tackling and our guys can still be tough and disciplined and we can still play the same football that New Jersey is known for,” Carty said.
School will monitor themselves how much time they spend in full-contact practices.
Any violations that are reported could lead to sanctions.