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NCAA News- History

The NCAA News provides a remarkable history of the evolution of catastrophic head and neck injuries in football and the effort to prevent these injuries. It's worthwhile to notice that many of the issues relating to spearing and head-down contact have not changed much in 30 years. Similar themes seem to repeat themselves again and again through the years.

We are going in reverse order here with the oldest articles first. Through 1995 these articles are in adobe .pdf format, after that they are linked to the NCAA's web site. In the PDF files I left the 1st page of each NCAA News in the file for nostalgic reasons. This is also a work in progress, as I search more of the archives I will add articles here. This information was obtained from NCAA.org.

November, 1967- "NCAA Grants Injury Research Fund"- The principle areas of research are to be the head, neck and spine. On page 1.
June, 1970- "Committee Seeks Equipment Standards"- Comments from the Editor. On page 2. "Committee to Set Equipment Standards Created". NOCSAE is created. On page 5.
Ocotber 1, 1970- "NOCSAE Wants New Head and Neck Injury Studies for Evaluation"- Their first request to researchers. On page 3.
Ocobter 15, 1970- "Spearing Hit by Medical Group as Dangerous"- And don't teach face in the numbers either. On page 4.
November 01, 1970- "Victory, But Equipment Improvement Still Sought". Highlights of court case victory ... mechanism of injury is off ... but many other concepts are already right on point, including 'heads up' football. On page 3.
March 1, 1971- "New Football Rules to Prevent Injury" A small mention about the spearing rules being applied to tacklers and blockers. On page 2.
August 15, 1971- "Football Most Dangerous Sport- Says Surgeon"- He calls for curbing of tackling with the helmet. On page 2.
February 15, 1976- "Football Rules Stress More Safety in Blocking and Tackling"- The landmark change to the spearing rules, with AFCA support. On Pages 1 & 2.
"NCAA to Study Spinal Cord Injury"- Casey Clarke leads the survey. On Page 2.
November 1, 1976- "NOCSAE, Safer Rules Preventing Accidents"- Deaths decrease but the speculation here that catastrophic cervical spine injuries have decreased turns out incorrect for 1976.- On page 7.
August 15, 1977- "NOCSAE, Safer Rules Preventing Injury"- VR Hodgson explains why the NOCSAE standards have been effective in reducing deaths and head injuries.- On page 4.
October 15, 1977- "Sports Safety Guidelines Offered"- A checklist is provided to minimize liability and increase safety. Most items are still viable today. On page 4.
November 1, 1977- "NOCSAE Tests Promoting Helmet Safety"- The NOCSAE standard is revised and explained. On page 5.
September 15, 1978- "Nelson Defends Rules" - NCAA defends itself against Sprots Illustrated article. And the author seems a bit aggravated. On pages 1,3,5 & 7.
"List of Approved Helmets Released" - NOCSAE releases first list of helmets that meet standards. Pg 3.
"Injury Information Sought" - Blyth requests information on catstrophic injuries and fatalities. Page 7.
Ocotber 15, 1978- "Discussing the Injury Problem- It's time for a good self-examination". On page 2.
"Safeguards Committee Asks for Sharing of Responsibility"- Athletes need to accept some responsibility for injury prevention. Great piece. On page 5.
February 15, 1981- "Fitting of Equipment Important"- The guillotene helmet concept or hyperextension of neck is not the cause catastrophic spine injuries. On page 6
March 15, 1981- "1980 Football Fatalities Show Slight Increase" - But the overall trend continues downward. On page 1.
August 15, 1981- "Nocsae Releases Football Helmet List" - Updated list of helmets with NOCSAE approval. On pages 4 & 6.
March 2, 1988- "Football Fatalities in 1987 Were at an 11 Year Low"- A continued effort is needed to keep the head from being the primary point of contact. On page 2.
November 28, 1988- "Helmet Use in Tackling Causes Serious Injury, Study Shows"- Torg emphasizes these injuries are not caused by freak accidents. On page 18.
October 28, 1996- "Cerebral Concussions in Football"- Cantu opines whether helmets can and should do more.
September 22, 1997- "Researchers report fewer football catastrophic injuries"- NCCSIR summary report.
September 13th, 2004- "NATA Tackles Head-Down Contact with Position Statement". NCAA gives some exposure to our position statement.
August 15, 2005- "Heads Up Given to Head-Down Contact". Ron Courson discusses the rule change and how it came about in 2005.
February 13, 2008- "NCAA Football Rules Committee Proposes Rules to Enhance Student-Athlete Safety and Encourage Consistent Pace of Play". NCAA again changes helmet-contact rules to improve enforcement.