Football Canada’s Safe Contact program in full swing, how does it measure up?

As more thorough and detailed science continues to emerge on the link between participation in collision sports and the risk of brain injury, youth football organizations across North America have been walking a delicate line in attempts to make the game safer while not damaging the integrity of the sport.

There are several ongoing campaigns stretching across United States pushing to minimize contact in youth football under a certain age, most notably in New York State, where it’s been proposed to ban tackling for children under the age of 14.

No measures have been taken to outright eliminate tackling in Canada, but its governing body has rolled out its own risk-minimization initiative in recent months. The Safe Contact program was enacted by Football Canada last August which, among others, lists the following guidelines effective starting in 2017:

  • Regular season games must be scheduled a minimum of four days apart (2 days for NSO and PSO tournaments).
  • Make up games must be scheduled no less than two days before and after previous and following games.
  • All teams must, before starting any other skill development, have a week dedicated to “Safe Contact.
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