Ivies Move to End Tackling at Practices (‘The New York Times’)

Dartmouth has led the Ivy League’s head football coaches to take “an extraordinary step,” reports The New York Times.

Last week, the coaches unanimously approved a measure to eliminate “all full-contact hitting from practices during the regular season, the most aggressive measure yet to combat growing concerns about brain trauma and other injuries in the sport,” the Times reports.

“The Ivy League’s new rule was inspired by one of its members, Dartmouth, where full-contact practices throughout the year were eliminated by Coach Buddy Teevens starting in 2010 to reduce injuries, including concussions, that kept players out of games and wore them down over the course of a season,” the Times writes.

(Dartmouth football players practice tackling with the use of the Mobile Virtual Player (MVP), a robotic tackling dummy developed jointly by Thayer School of Engineering and Robert L. Blackman Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens ’79.)

“Instead of hitting other players in practice, Dartmouth players hit pads and tackling dummies, including a specially designed, mobile virtual player, that moves across the field the way a player would,” Teevens tells the Times.

“I have known a lot of the coaches in the league for years. We had a conversation . . . I told them, ‘This has worked for us. Will this put us at a competitive disadvantage? No.’ They were all in. There was not a debate,” says Teevens.

Read the full story, published 3/1/16 by The New York Times.