New rules for high school football players to increase safety

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) Injuries on the football field are no surprise, especially in this day in age. With the reputation the contact sport has, officials are tightening the rules to make sure players are as safe as possible.

"I mean any rule that allows the kids to be in a safer environment is good. So forcing the kids to have the proper equipment is the correct way to go," says Casey Johnson, a local football parent.

The National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee has tightened their regulations with safety in mind. According to the committee, high school football players who are detected with missing or improperly worn equipment during playing action will be removed from the game for at least one down, unless the improper equipment is directly attributable to a foul by the opponent.

Fargo School District’s Director of Student Activities, Todd Olson, believes the rule will only improve the games overall safety.

“"I think the key is player safety, you know, that's number one. But I think another part of this is since the concussion rules came about and the rule now is that if a helmet comes off, that player is removed from the field for a down. I think they've seen that that's been very successful and now they're expanding it to the other pieces of required equipment.. I think coaches will be more aware of it and players will be more aware of it and you'll get greater compliance because we know that players don't want to miss downs," Olson explains.

Moorhead High School’s Head Football Coach, Kevin Fenney, is more than happy to learn of the enforcement.

“Any time the people that are putting the rules out there, it's for the safety of the game and with all the scrutiny that football is under right now about safety, I think it's a great rule and it's going to continually get better as far as the implementation of those type of rules," Fenney says.

Parents, Casey Johnson and Heather Westlund, are relieved to hear of the new implementation. Safety has always been their concern for their son and watching him get tackled hasn’t always been easy.

“Mom just doesn’t really like that, but mom doesn’t like getting hit herself,” explains Westlund.

Heather Konschak, West Fargo School District Community Relations Coordinator, says, "As a district, we do not have any issues with the new regulation around equipment, nor do we foresee any issues with our ability to comply."

Overall, everyone can agree that the safety of the children is the biggest concern and this rule will only increase that.