Some football fans were disappointed when the NFL started to assigned fines and penalties for “egregious and elevated hits”. Kimball high school fans in Tracy, California were stunned when the ref called a penalty on Zack Johnson for hurdling over a defender.
Johnson got called a 15-yard penalty, instead of earning six points for his amazing play. As crazy as it sounds, there is actually a rule in the state’s high school rulebook. This penalty came from the National Federation of State High School Rule 9-4-3d.
According to the rulebook, “Hurdling is an attempt by a player to jump (hurdle) with one or both feet or knees foremost over an opponent who is contacting the ground with no part his body except one or both feet.”
Many state high schools have fought to remove this rule, but the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) decided to keep it.
“Recently, national and local media have identified some of these plays at the collegiate and professional levels as ‘spectacular feats’ and glorified the individuals athletic ability instead of point out the heightened potential for harm,” says the NFHS.
They believe there is little regard given to the fact that attempting to hurdle a defender increases the risk of injury to both the hurdler and the tackler. The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) requested that this rule not be changed and backed up its request by showing several incidences where players were severely injured while attempting to hurdle over defenders.
I believe that the rule should be omitted. I feel the play has the same risks as someone dunking over someone in basketball. The athlete should be held accountable for his actions and should understand in performing something there is always a potential risk.