Protecting players in ‘defenseless postures’ has become the focus of Football Canada’s Amateur Tackle Football Rule Book.
Football Canada defenseless postures are defined as:
– Player in the act or just after throwing a pass.
– Receiver attempting to catch a pass or just completed a catch.
– Runner or punt returner attempting to field a kick in the air.
– Kicker/punter during kick or during return.
– Quarterback any time after a change of possession.
Prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is:
– Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder regardless of whether the defenseless player also uses his arms to tackle.
– Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the top/crown or forehead/”hairline”.
– Illegally launching into a defenseless opponent.
“Safety is the number one priority of Football Canada and the rule modifications we have enacted reflect a proactive approach to make the game of football safer across Canada,” said President, Richard MacLean.
“The changes also better align with the principles and techniques taught in Football Canada’s Safe Contact workshop and our model of Long Term Athlete Development.”
Football Canada also enacted new roughing the passer rules designed to protect quarterbacks:
– Defenders are prohibited from forcibly hitting in the knee area or below a passer who has one or both feet planted on the ground, even if initial contact is above the knee.
– Defenders are prohibited from committing intimidating and punishing acts after the passer has thrown the ball.
– Defenders are prohibited from using the helmet/facemask to hit the passer or use hands, arms or other parts of body forcibly in the head or neck area.
– Penalizing a head leading block or tackle
– No player, including the ball carrier, shall use his helmet to butt or ram an opponent.
– No player shall strike the runner with the crown or top of their helmet.
Football Canada offers several safety-oriented tools for coaches. Making Head Way in Football is an e-learning module on concussion awareness and management. Safe Contact is a multi-media approach to schooling coaches in the proper techniques of tackling and blocking and in conducting both tackling and blocking drills.