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Pop Warner League Takes Step In The Right Direction With New Rules To Prevent Brain Injuries

Posted on: June 14th, 2012 by Romanucci & Blandin

We’re pleased to congratulate Pop Warner — an organization that enrolls more than 285,000 children ages 5 to 15 in their football leagues, and has produced more than two-thirds of the players now in the National Football League — for their recent announcement.

Pop Warner has become the first youth football organization to officially limit contact during practices. Based on the advice of the group’s Medical Advisory Board, and views from regional and local administrators and coaches, these rules will be in place for the 2012 season:

  1. 1. No full speed head-on blocking or tackling drills in which the players line up more than 3 yards apart are permitted.
  2. 2. The amount of contact at each practice will be reduced to a maximum of 1/3 of practice time (either 40 minutes total of each practice or 1/3 of total weekly practice time).

Also, Pop Warner emphasizes its “Rule 14 of the Pop Warner National Rule Book, 11-Man Tackle Football.” It states, “…no butt blocking, chop blocking, face tackling or spearing techniques shall be permitted.”

The New York Times on June 13 reported that “Pop Warner’s new rules, which will affect hundreds of thousands of youth football players, some as young as 5 years old, were seen as the latest acknowledgment that the nation’s most popular sport poses dangers to the long-term cognitive health of its athletes.”

The article says, “studies have shown that younger players can face repetitive brain trauma similar to that sustained at the college level — and perhaps even more acutely, because their brains are not fully developed and require longer rest periods after injury.”

Dr. Julian Bailes, a local physician, and chairman of the Pop Warner medical advisory board and co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute in Illinois, is quoted as saying, “…right off the bat … with this change we can eliminate 60-plus percent of the brain impacts or concussions.”

Pop Warner’s move comes after studies have linked collisions on the field to long-term cognitive problems. Several former college and professional players were found to have a brain disease similar to Alzheimer’s that is caused by repeated head trauma.

In our view from the stands, Pop Warner deserves a rousing cheer for this significant move. Let’s hear it!

Published by the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin

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