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Comments of support/endorsement

Scott Anderson, ATC

President, College Athletic Trainers Society;
Head athletic trainer, University of Oklahoma:

“The opportunity to gather, at one table, the stakeholders from all disciplines in collegiate athletics, solely in the interest of student-athlete safety is unprecedented. Guidelines developed in a consensus of active discussion and study establish an index from which we can continue to cooperatively address an ongoing and necessary expansion of safety for our student-athletes in sport.” 

Grant Teaff

Executive Director, American Football Coaches Association:
“The Board of Trustees of the American Football Coaches Association, representing coaches from all divisions of NCAA and NAIA football, unanimously endorses the Inter-Association Consensus: Year-Round Football Practice Contact Guidelines. The AFCA has always put the safety of players first and foremost. The Association feels that the important job of preparing players to play a contact sport can still be done, while at the same time, further protecting these student-athletes by limiting contact in practice.”

Bob Stoops

Head football coach, University of Oklahoma:
“At Oklahoma, we have already reduced our contact in practice, not only because of concussion, but to protect our players from all the other injury that can occur from contact. For me, it’s about what’s best for the safety of our players.”

David Cutcliffe

Head football coach, Duke University:
"This is an outstanding move for our student-athletes and I commend all of the principle parties for moving us in the right direction. To have the NCAA, our medical professionals, coaches, school and conference administrators working collectively, speaks volumes about the desire to ensure the health and safety of our players."

Mark Richt

Head football coach, University of Georgia:
“Certainly this is a positive step in continuing to monitor how best to protect players while still maintaining the integrity and fundamentals of the game.  Continuing research is also necessary as the game progresses with the intention of keeping the well-being of the student-athlete in the forefront of future rules considerations.”

Steve Sarkisian

Head football coach, University of Southern California:
“With input from Pac-12 coaches, these practice contact policies have worked well in the Pac-12.  As coaches, it is important we maintain our ability to prepare our teams to compete each week while also looking at ways to ensure their safety.”

Al Bagnoli

Head football coach, University of Pennsylvania:
“The safety of our student-athletes is paramount. Ivy League schools took a similar proactive step a few years ago because we realized that even though we don’t fully understand these issues yet, it is critically important to create a healthy environment for our student-athletes to practice and compete. So we’re happy that other institutions throughout the NCAA realize the importance of these guidelines and are taking this important step.”

Rob Ash

Head football coach, Montana State University:
“The new inter-association practice guidelines constitute an important step to improve player safety in the game of football. These guidelines are strict in concept but flexible in design, allowing coaches ample freedom to design practice schedules while limiting the amount of full contact situations that players will experience. The result is a practice model that will work superbly for coaches while protecting our players from excessive contact.  There is no doubt in my mind that coaching staffs across the country at all levels will enthusiastically endorse these guidelines and incorporate them into their football practice regimen.”

Kevin Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC

Co-Director, Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related TBI Research Center;
Kenan Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill:

“As discussed at the Safety in College Football Summit, there are still many unknowns about the effect of sub-concussive head impacts in contact sports. We are making progress, but currently have no evidence to support a specific frequency or magnitude of head impact(s) as being ‘dangerous.’

“However, it’s hard to argue against a policy that limits the number of head impacts and likely reduces a student-athlete’s risk of sustaining high magnitude impacts. There’s a big dark cloud over the sport of football, and the new guidelines are needed at this time. The new guidelines are very practical and offer a great balance between reducing the exposure to head contact, while still affording student-athletes the opportunity to learn and practice proper technique. In fact the contact practices, if done right, allow the student-athlete to acclimate and ultimately help to reduce injury risk.”

Ruben Echemendia, PhD

President, Sports Neuropsychology Society;
Fellow, American Psychological Association:

"The NCAA and the College Athletic Trainers’ Society have amassed an impressive array of sports medicine and academic organizations to create consensus statements in three important areas of concussion care including guidelines for live contact practice in football, the importance of independent medical care, and guidelines for the diagnosis and management of concussions. The summit members have demonstrated exemplary leadership in creating these evidence based guidelines and the Sports Neuropsychology Society is proud to endorse them."

Jim Whitehead, PhD

CEO and Executive Vice President, American College of Sports Medicine:
The Safety in College Football Summit was a remarkable demonstration of inter-association cooperation and consensus development. The unique collaboration among medical and scientific societies and NCAA produced three key documents, which together will lead to important advances. ACSM was very pleased to be part of this process, and applauds the NCAA, the College Athletic Trainers’ Society, and the leading sports medicine and sports science organizations that worked so well and diligently to make measurable and historic progress in improving the health and safety of collegiate student-athletes nationwide.”    

Arthur Caplan

Director, Division of Medical Ethics, NYU Langone Medical Center and Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics, New York University:
“The health of student-athletes must be the preeminent value in college sports. That moral stance is sometimes difficult to remember in the heat of competition and in the desire to see one’s team and school win. These new guidelines merit praise. They make it clear that health care providers must have ‘unchallengeable autonomous authority’ to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions of student-athletes in order to protect their health. Players, their families, coaches, fans and the media should both celebrate the affirmation of this principle and insist that it be implemented in all sports and in every college and university setting.”

Jim Thornton MA, ATC, CES

President, National Athletic Trainers' Association;
Director of Sports Medicine/Athletic Training Services, Clarion University of Pennsylvania:

“Historically, the NATA and its Board of Directors have supported the development of best practices documents to help enhance athletic health care.  The guidelines established by the collaboration of the entities associated with the summit, and subsequent endorsement of these documents, continues the work towards providing appropriate health care and safety for collegiate student-athletes.”

Jo A. Hannafin, MD, PhD

President, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine:
“The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine applauds the College Athletic Trainers’ Society and the NCAA for taking the leadership in bringing together the sports medicine community and athletic conferences in developing consensus statements on athlete health and safety pertaining to independent medical care for athletes, diagnosis and management of sport-related concussion and live contact football practice. AOSSM has participated in the development of these documents and is pleased to endorse these documents during our July 2014 meeting.”

Dale Lennon

Chair, FCS Executive Committee;
Head football coach, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale:

“The Year-Round Football Practice Contact Guidelines demonstrate a positive step towards ensuring the safety of student-athletes and establishing common practice policies for the coaching profession. The feedback I received from other FCS coaches indicated that these guidelines are already followed by most collegiate football programs, and confirms that FCS college coaches are very aware of the safety issues facing college football. We look forward to strengthening our association with various medical organizations to keep the safety and well-being of our student-athletes as a top priority, and we appreciate the inclusive process that was used to acquire feedback from coaches and the medical community.”

Margot Putukian, MD, FACSM

Director of Athletic Medicine, Princeton University:
“For the important issues of concussion and independent medical care, it is extremely satisfying for me as a team physician to see such collaborative efforts by organizations such as the NCAA, AMSSM, NATA/CATS and others, with resulting guidelines that are thoughtful and designed to protect the health and safety of student athletes.”

Jeffrey Bytomski, DO

American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine:
“These inter-association consensus guidelines demonstrate a commitment to the safety of the student-athlete on many key issues including concussion, football safety, and provider independence. They set the foundation for further enhancement of player safety and success both on and off the field.”

Kenneth Podell, PhD

Co-director, Houston Methodist Concussion Center:
“I am excited by the inter-association guidelines on sports concussion management, contact in football practices, and establishment of independent medical care for college student-athletes. Having been fortunate enough to be a part of the diverse group of experts that discussed and developed the consensus statements and guidelines, I was able to see how the sole focus of the group, led by Scott Anderson and Dr. Brian Hainline, was the student-athletes’ health and well-being. The group made substantial progress in developing a safer environment for all student-athletes through better definitions of football practice activities, clearly defining independent medical care that is not influenced or pressured by a “win at all costs” mentality, and setting a standard of care for the identification, diagnosis and treatment for concussion throughout the NCAA. The NCAA and NCAA Sport Science Institute clearly mandated one mission - that our group work together to improve the health and well-being of the college student-athlete.”

Vernon Williams, MD

Chair, American Academy of Neurology Sports Neurology Section:
“Development of best practices and guidelines for concussion is a science and process in evolution. We're learning more every day about how we can continue to enjoy the benefits of sports participation while protecting neurologic health across the lifespan. The inter-association effort and new guidelines significantly contribute to that goal.”

Jeffrey S. Kutcher, MD

Team Neurologist, United States Ski and Snowboard Association;
Team Physician, University of Michigan Department of Intercollegiate Athletics:

“These guidelines are the product of a thoughtful and critical process, clearly designed and carried out solely to benefit the health and safety our collegiate student athletes. The consensus here is clear and substantial. For me, it’s tremendously encouraging to see these efforts and understand that they are just the beginning of a continuous process that will continue to respond to responsible science.”

Stanley A. Herring, MD

Clinical Professor, University of Washington;
Co-Medical Director, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s Sports Concussion Program:

“It has been a pleasure to be a member of the working group that has produced these three important documents. Confirming and detailing the autonomy of the medical team as it relates to the care of collegiate student-athletes is of fundamental importance for the health and welfare of these sports participants, and the principles outlined in this paper are applicable to athletes at every level of play.

The guidelines for concussion management and contact practices reflect a consensus opinion of this expert group utilizing the best evidence and experience available. This work provides for a thorough and organized plan for sport-related concussion diagnosis and management for athletes in all sports, and it offers a practical approach to football practices as well. The organic nature of these guidelines allows for their modification as new knowledge becomes available.”

Julian Bailes, MD

American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons:
“The NCAA, College Athletic Trainers’ Society and the entire inter-association task force have taken important steps to reduce unnecessary contact in college football, which organized neurosurgery supports and commends so that the game can continue to be safely enjoyed by all.”

Brant Berkstresser, ATC

Head Athletic Trainer, Harvard University;
Chair, NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports:

“The significance of each of these documents is the amicable agreement of numerous conferences and other organizations to work together for the benefit of student-athlete health and safety. These statements provide guidelines for administrators, medical staffs and coaches to use in evaluating their practice habits, concussion management plans and health care model. In specific reference to the football practice rules it's very encouraging to see this working group follow the leadership steps the Ivy League began three years ago.” 

William Dexter, MD

Past President, American College of Sports Medicine:
“The real key here is prevention. The NCAA and CATS, working with top sports medicine organizations and with its institutional members and conferences, did an excellent job of creating safety and contact guidelines that strike an effective balance between protecting student-athletes and giving teams the freedom to adequately prepare for game day.”

Jim Phillips

President, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics;
Vice President, Athletics and Recreation, Northwestern University:

“NACDA is proud to play a role in the formation of the Safety in College Football Summit and wholeheartedly endorse the multi-tiered guidelines that have originated from these joint efforts.”

Statement from the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS):

“The committee supports the foundational principles of the three inter-association consensus documents (Year-Round Football Practice Contact Guidelines; Diagnosis and Management of Sport-Related Concussion Guidelines; Independent Medical Care for College Student-Athletes Guidelines).  In particular, with regard to football practice guidelines, we support the focus on limiting contact exposure regardless of uniform. The committee reiterates its support of the independent healthcare model for the provision of medical care to student-athletes.”

Jim Crawley, MEd, ATC, PT

Athletic Training Program Director & NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, Dominican College (New York);
CSMAS and DII Management Council Member:

“As a member of CSMAS representing the Division II Management Council, I am proud to join a diverse group of medical associations and sport safety advocates in trying to continually reduce athletic injuries and I support the foundational principles contained in the guidelines for concussion diagnosis and management, independent medical care for student-athletes, and limiting football practice contact.  I believe these inter-association consensus documents represent a commitment to further support Division II student-athlete health and safety in all sports.”

Lori Runksmeier

Athletic Director, New England College;
CSMAS and DIII Management Council Member:

“Division III looks forward to continuing its support of guidelines for student-athlete health and safety. My fellow CSMAS members and I support the foundational principles of the three inter-association consensus documents. With regard to football practice guidelines, we particularly support the focus on limiting contact exposure regardless of uniform. We also strongly believe in an independent healthcare model for student-athlete medical care.”

Kim Harmon, MD

American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) Foundation Board Member; AMSSM Past President:
“These documents represent a great step forward in the care of the student-athlete.  It is encouraging to see the NCAA taking a proactive approach to sport-related concussion and other important health issues.”

Chris Madden, MD

AMSSM Board President:
“AMSSM values the health and safety of all athletes. These inter-association guidelines embrace a culture of safety in an area where we have limited data. It will be important to carefully monitor and study the influence and outcomes of these recommendations in an effort to make quality decisions based on the best evidence available at the time.”

Steven J. Hatchell

President & CEO, National Football Foundation:
“This is an invaluable time relative to safety for young athletes across the country.  The depth of discussion, research and proposed protocols concerning all phases of health and wellness recognition and treatment has never been higher or so well delineated.  What is remarkable are the teams of wonderful professionals, from all walks of life, who have dedicated their time and knowledge to make safety a priority like no other time in sports history.  The Board of Directors of the National Football Foundation fully supports the steps being taken to develop plans that are in the best interest of the student-athlete.”


The three guidelines that developed from the Safety in College Football Summit are a labor of passion, commitment and deep concern for the health and safety of college-student athletes.  We are not only indebted to our medical colleagues and organizations who guided us through this process, but also to many conferences who demonstrated a combination of leadership, insight and courage in supporting this process and endorsing the inter-association guidelines.  Special thanks to:

  • Atlantic Coast Conference
  • Big Ten Conference
  • Big 12 Conference
  • Big Sky Conference
  • Conference USA
  • Ivy League
  • Mountain West Conference
  • Pac-12 Conference
  • Southeastern Conference
  • Sun Belt Conference

Scott Anderson, ATC  
President, College Athletic Trainers’ Society 

Brian Hainline, MD
NCAA Chief Medical Officer