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Should high schools follow NFL’s lead on hits?


Seton-La Salle senior Dylan Boccella was injured Saturday by a blow to the head that his football coach called “frightening.” You know the ones the NFL has been banning? This was similar.

“If this was in the NFL, they’d probably consider it helmet-to-helmet and they’d probably fine the guy,” Seton-La Salle coach Greg Perry said, “but in high school they really don’t have that kind of legislation.”

So, the hit was legal.

During Saturday’s scrimmage with South Park, Boccella, a starting wide receiver, was running a slant route across the middle when he was hit high and low. The collision left Boccella with a concussion and a nasty gash on his face that needed 25 stitches, Perry said. Boccella spent a night in the hospital and was released Sunday afternoon.

Should high schools follow the NFL’s lead and ban helmet-to-helmet hits? The kneejerk answer would be yes, but the problem comes with enforcement.

“What would you do (to the offender)?” Perry wondered, highlighting the obvious first hurdle. “Would it be a suspension? You can’t fine a kid.”

Also, the NFL delivers punishments sometimes days later, after reviewing film of the hit. The WPIAL or PIAA wouldn’t have the luxury of HD video, so interpreting any new helmet-to-helmet rule would add a very difficult responsibility for crews officiating the games.

It’s fortunate that at the high school level, these violent hits are rare.

“It was frightening,” Perry said. “His helmet flew off, and he was out.”

– Chris Harlan (

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