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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 (



  1. CG says:

    High School does have a rule in place. It’s also has been a major point of emphasis the last few years in High School football. Not seeing the play, can’t say if this particular hit was legal or illegal, simply saying there is a rule in place. The offender can be ejected from the game, which depending on the state policy could mean being suspended from additional games. All levels are attempting to take the head out of the game for safety concerns.

  2. Tammy Stein says:

    My son plays with him and also said it was frightening he worried about him for days. Gladly he will be okay. It is a wonderful football program and one of the reasons we chose to send our child their besides the educational program is fabulous. Go Rebels!

  3. Brian Doyle says:

    I have watched video over and over and over again although I fell bad and Dylan is in my prayers the hit was legal. Football is a tough sport but do not let emotional envolvement get in way of a good play. I am not emotionally attached to it but feel bad for Dylan do not verbally prosicute young men who made a good legal hit. Risk of injury part of game. SO LET THEM PLAY!!!

  4. KS says:

    These Scrimmages and 7 on 7s are getting so out of hand. If injuries that occur during the season are not enough to ruin these players seasons, take them out in the pre- season when its just for “practice.” Who ever though it was a good idea to let these kid play with no pads and wear their helmets should lose their job. And if seeing multiple players with concussions and my own family member with a broken knee, well i don’t know what they need to see that it is getting out of control. In my opinion 7 on 7s and scrimmages are nothing but detrimental to the outcome of alot of these players seasons. If any one would like to point out the positives i am more than willing to listen. But face the facts people, too many kids are enduring terrible injuries for something that mean relatively nothing.

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