Preseason Injury Rates in a Division II Football Team Before and After the 2017 NCAA Practice Rule Changes

in International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training
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In 2017, the NCAA implemented rule changes to enhance safety in college football; however, the effect on injury risk remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to observe differences in the number and rate of injuries and time-loss injuries in an NCAA Division II football team during two consecutive preseasons, before and after the rule changes. From 2016 to 2017, we observed a decrease in lower extremity (LE) muscle strains from 1.00 injury/session to 0.55 injuries/session. We also observed a decrease in time-loss LE muscle strains from 0.52 injuries/session in 2016 to 0.20 injuries/session in 2017. After the rule changes, we observed fewer time-loss injuries (14.06% decrease), acute LE strains (45.00% decrease), and time-loss LE strains (61.54% decrease) per preseason practice session. These findings suggest that the rule changes may help reduce both the number and severity of LE muscle strains during preseason football.

Smith is an athletic trainer and instructor in the Department of Sports Medicine at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA. Baer is a faculty member, athletic trainer, and clinical education coordinator in the Department of Sports Medicine at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA.

Baer (dbaer@wcupa.edu) is corresponding author.
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