Bret Bielema was asked for evidence for the claim that up tempo spread offenses are a threat to player safety. His evidence was “death certificates,” in reference to Cal defensive lineman Ted Agu, who died during an off-season conditioning workout.
While safety regarding sickle cell trait is an obvious concern, Agu’s death would be evidence for regulating off-season conditioning workouts, which have proved fatal on multiple occasions. Players in distress on the field, unlike off-season workouts, may drop to the ground and stop play. Coaches seem to be well aware of that rule.
Evidence suggests that teams that play faster in fact suffer fewer injuries. Perhaps spread coaches are less prone to forcing players through a full week of full-contact practices mid-season to toughen them up? Player safety is a noble concern. But other measures, such as limiting full-contact practices and enacting a running clock, would actually improve that.
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