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Summer Football Safety

Across the US this summer, school-age football players are flocking to camps conducted by colleges and commercial interests. They get outfitted in full gear and launch themselves into drills and skills work.

Unlike the start of the interscholastic football season, the players usually do this without several days of acclimatization to avoid heat illness, and without limits on player-to-player contact to reduce head injuries.

Required precautions of the school season are generally ignored at non-school summer camps.

One notable exception to this foolish behavior is found in Michigan where the Michigan High School Athletic Association prohibits member schools’ student-athletes from using full equipment and participating in full-contact activities outside the high school football season. This is not a recent change; it’s been the MHSAA’s explicit policy for more than four decades.

And it’s a policy that has never been more in style and in favor than it is today.

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About the Author

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts has been at the helm of the MHSAA as its Executive Director since 1986, implementing programs and overseeing tournament administration and regulations for the Association which boasts 1,500 member schools, 10,000 registered officials and 13,000 head coaches.

During the last 44 years, Roberts has spoken to educator and athletic groups, business leaders and civic groups in almost every state and five Canadian provinces. He is one of the nation's most articulate advocates for educational athletics.

Roberts has served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO), is in his second term on the board of the National Federation of State High School Associations, and is the first chairman of the NFHS Network board of directors. He has been board president for the Refugee Development Center for seven years, and is a past-chair of the board of directors of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. He is vice chair and secretary of the board of trustees for the Capital Region Community Foundation.

He is a 1970 graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played defensive safety for the Ivy League's winningest football team during that span, and he sang in Dartmouth's close harmony vocal group.

His wife, Peggy, has retired from a 30-year career in social services, and is serving as president of the board of the Fenner Nature Conservancy in Lansing.