Spring football is a tried and true tradition nationwide, as high school teams get in offseason training programs and, in most cases, a series of organized and coached practices. Now it appears that tradition may be on its last legs in the home of the Titans.
As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Virginia High School League’s executive committee is expected to hear a proposal that would completely abolish high school practices out of season. If it passes, the move would roll back Virginia high school standards to their pre-2011 levels, when no out of season participation was legal in the state.
The rationale behind the proposal claims Virginia student athletes have been suffering injuries at a higher rate. That, combined with the sentiment that a rule created to keep more student athletes in the high school sports ecosystem was instead, limiting their ability to take part in multiple sports because their primary activities took up too much time offseason as well.
“These high school kids are no longer high school kids,” Dr. Douglas Cutter, the medical director for HCA Virginia Sports Medicine, told the Times-Dispatch of year-round football participation. “They’re not little guys. They’re harder, bigger and faster than ever before. They’re hitting really hard. This is not the same sport it was 10 years ago.”
Neither is baseball or basketball, or even sports like track and field, which have always been perfectly suited for year round training and competition. And the increased specialization and competitiveness all set the stage for less cross-sport participation, which decreases the competitive pool in other sports.
Whether the proposal matriculates on from the executive board remains to be seen, but the door has officially been kicked open, setting the stage for significant change in Virginia, and perhaps elsewhere as well.