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The Ivy League Seeks to Prevent Concussions

On Monday, the Ivy League implemented new rules to prevent concussions in soccer and lacrosse. These new changes will be imposed this upcoming fall, for both men and women. The Ivy League consists of Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

There will also be educational initiatives, such as preseason meetings discussing the signs of concussions and why reporting these symptoms is so crucial.

Shirley M. Tilghman, Ivy League Council of Presidents chair and Princeton University President said in an ESPN interview, “The presidents are committed to continuing to review the frequency and impact of concussions in collegiate athletics in order to protect the welfare of our student-athletes. Concussion research is rapidly evolving, and our policies need to reflect changes in our understanding of this important issue."

In women’s lacrosse, there will be ten designated spring practices where stick-checking will be prohibited. Coaches in return will teach stick-checking techniques.

The first change in men’s lacrosse will begin with eleven designated days in the fall and spring seasons in which body checking will be prohibited. Additionally, full contact will only be allowed in one practice per day. Instead, coaches will spend more time teaching hitting techniques.

In soccer, the NCAA will put into effect the substitution rule, which will allow for substitution and re-entry of players who experience concussion symptoms so they can be checked out on the sideline and be reinstated into the game, while not counting against the teams’ substitution total if the player is okay to play.

Further, coaches will use three hours of preseason practice to teach and discuss the right way to approach heading duels.

The Women’s Sports Foundation recognizes that concussions among female athletes are a growing concern, which is why we are researching the issue through our SHARP Research Center collaboration with the University of Michigan.Through emerging research in prevention and training practices, we have found that gender-conscious approaches to physical training and conditioning for female athletes help to reduce the likelihood of concussions. Also, in a ranking of high school and college sports on the basis of concussions as a percentage of all injuries, women’s soccer and basketball ranked highest, followed by football and men’s soccer.

We are glad that the Ivy League is taking action in reducing the number of concussions in sports. The safety and health of female athletes is paramount to their continued involvement in sports-and will help them reach their full potential, on and off the field. Hopefully, these new rules will help reduce the number of concussions and other leagues will follow suit.