The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has developed the "Play Smart. Play Hard." website in an ongoing effort to ensure the safety of high school athletes, the organization said on its website.
Topics covered on the site include pitch count limits, concussions, acclimation to heat, and bullying and hazing. It also offers advice on the use of social media for both players and coaches and talks about the risks of specializing in a particular sport.
“At the Illinois High School Association, player safety is our top priority," the IHSA posted. "Play Smart, Play Hard. builds on IHSA’s existing commitment to safeguard the health and welfare of student-athletes by focusing on educating and equipping student-athletes, parents, coaches and schools on how we can all work together to better protect our athletes while they enjoy playing the sports we all love."
IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson
The IHSA said it has worked with its advisory council and membership in formatting guidelines for each season’s sports. Guidelines include requiring officials to file a special report to member schools any time a student-athlete is removed from a contest with a possible head injury. Concussions and their long-term effects have become particularly relevant in the sports community.
While football is a primary concern because of the injury involved, the IHSA is also putting together a list of topics to discuss for the 2017-18 season, including acclimatization policies for sports besides football.
“As the new school year begins, the IHSA hopes everyone will take the necessary precautions to ensure the safest playing environment for participants,” the group posted. “Participating in high school athletics offers tremendous benefits to student-athletes.”