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Pop Warner makes changes to decrease the chances of head injuries

Hundreds of thousands of kids who play Pop Warner football will be playing by a new set of rules this season. The new rules are intended to create more safeguards against the increasing number of concussions/head injuries suffered by kid under the age of 12. I have posted a number of pieces over the last year or so revealing the incredible statistics that are being released about the severity of concussion syndrome. Finally, steps are taking place to reduce these risks through some common sense approaches.

Effective immediately - no full speed head-on blocking in which players are more than 3 years apart, lineman will no longer be positioned directly across from each other and no head-on tackling or blocking. Also, only one third of each practice may be devoted to contact drills or full speed scrimmages. Pop Warner representatives have acknowledged that the recent studies have made them reexamine how young kids play the game. Therefore, these new rules will go into effect as of August 1. This means coaches and trainers will be designing a whole new rule book. Parents with kids playing football will see a new game this season.

Recent studies conducted by the U. S Consumer and Product Safety Committee uncovered the seriousness of concussive type injuries which occur in football games. The CPSC called the helmet industry to task for failing to make helmets safer. Over 100,000 head injuries are suffered by high school players alone. The most serious injuries are suffered by those with multiple concussive occurrences. A one-time shot to the head is one thing but two or three without proper recovery time in between can be life threatening and cause severe brain injury.

Young kids between the ages of 5 and 12 need to learn the basics of the game; like, throwing, catching and kicking. The hard hitting stuff can wait until their developmental years are complete.

Pop Warner did the right thing and should be congratulated for recognizing this problem and doing something about it.

Dennis F. Feeley

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