The Illinois High School Association says stricter standards regarding concussions could end high school football at some schools. Those stricter standards would include requiring doctors or certified athletic trainers to be at all football games and practices, and buying equipment for enhanced concussion screenings. IHSA executive director Marty Hickman says some schools can’t afford those costs.
“There’s only so much money in the pot,” Hickman said, “and so, with any of these kinds of initiatives, schools are going to have to choose where they spend their dollars, and some may choose to do that, some may choose to eliminate some programs.”
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Hickman suspects smaller schools would be more likely to cut football, calling it “impossible” for many to meet those standards.
Wilmington High School football coach Jeff Reents says his school, with a student population below 500, already meets some standards, such as having full-time athletic trainers, but it requires help from the community.
“It works well for us, but a lot of fundraising, a lot of money goes into trying to get that done,” Reents said.
The IHSA is being sued by a former high school football player, alleging the association hasn’t done enough on its own to protect players from concussions.