CFL bans full-contact practices to help with player safety

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie played in the league for nine years and insists that player safety is a top priority for him 

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie played in the league for nine years and insists that player safety is a top priority for him 

The Canadian Football League and its players’ union took unprecedented steps to improve player safety on Wednesday, immediately banning full-contact padded practices in hopes of limiting the amount of collisions players absorb over the course of a season.

The CFL will also extend its regular season from 20 to 21 weeks beginning next year, which will allow players more rest. However, league commissioner Randy Ambrosie didn’t want to wait until 2018 to make practices safer.

‘At the end of the day, when something is right, it’s right,’ Ambrosie told TSN. ‘In this case, making these changes is right, so why delay it? If it’s going to make our game better and safer for the players, I didn’t see any value in delaying.’

Teams will still be allowed to have padded practices during training camp, but they will no longer be able to have their 17 padded practices during the regular season as was the case previously.

CFL players, such as Ottawa RedBlacks wide receiver Diontae Spencer (85), will no longer be taking part in 17 padded practices per season

CFL players, such as Ottawa RedBlacks wide receiver Diontae Spencer (85), will no longer be taking part in 17 padded practices per season

The CFL’s decision could make waves beyond Canada, and possibly even in the NFL.

‘We are eager to discuss with the union at the earliest possible time health and safety matters and all other issues covered by the [collective bargaining agreement],’ NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email. 

The CFL’s new rules come in the wake of a Boston University study on the brains of deceased NFL players that showed 110 of 111 specimen had signs of CTE, a neurodegenerative disease which causes dementia and has also been linked to suicidal behavior.

The NFL had previously vowed to invest $30 million in brain injury research back in 2012. However, after the release of

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