MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck will be at the White House on Thursday, May 29, to attend President Barack Obama’s Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit.
Luck is attending the meeting and participating on behalf of Practice Like Pros
, a proactive national organization comprised of some of the leading professionals in football who are advocating safer practice standards in high school and youth sports.
In the entire 2012 NFL season, including five months of regular season and postseason, among 2,000 players from all 32 teams, only three concussions were reported on NFL practice fields. Last year, on the first day of high school spring practice, there were six concussions reported by one Florida high school football team alone on the practice field.
Practice Like Pros is endorsing a modified version of the current NFL practice standard for adoption by high school and youth football programs nationwide.
Specifically, Practice Like Pros is advocating no more than one full-contact practice per day during preseason, 90 minutes of full contact per week in-season, and coaches dressing players in full pads for all practice sessions to promote better safety.
Luck is part of a wide-ranging group of former players, coaches, athletic administrators and healthcare professionals promoting Practice Like Pros, such as former NFL star players Archie Manning, Ronnie Lott, Willie Lanier, Antonio Freeman, and Anthony Munoz, ex-coaches Dick Vermeil, Mike Ditka, Steve Mariucci and Sam Wyche, current Stanford coach David Shaw, nationally known broadcasters John Dockery, Chris Berman and Bob Costas, and leading healthcare professionals Dr. James Andrews, founder of Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, and Dr. Robert Cantu, co-founder of Sports Legacy Institute.
Since the inception of Practice Like Pros 16 months ago, 12 states have approved measures -- either in state legislatures or governing bodies of high school athletics – to limit contact on high school football practice fields: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
President Obama’s Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit will include NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with young athletes, parents, coaches, academic instructors, experts, athletes, military service members and other stakeholders.
Luck’s appearance in Washington, D.C. on Thursday represents the fifth such trip this year to our nation’s capital by someone affiliated with Mountaineer athletics.
Last month, the back-to-back national champion WVU rifle team was a White House guest of President Obama’s, as was volleyball assistant coach Kevin Carroll for his championship time spent at UC Irvine. Former standout Mountaineer defensive end Bruce Irvin visited the White House last week as a member of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, and Luck was also on the guest list, with son Andrew, for the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which took place earlier this month.
Luck has been a key proponent of health and safety improvements in the sport of football through his work with USA Football and his participation the last two years on the NFL's Player Health and Safety Advisory Committee. As the only athletic director invited to the White House Summit, Luck will also be representing West Virginia University’s ties to a safer game of football.