Football Safety: Pop Warner Football 2012 Rule Changes Because of Head Injury Concussion Dangers as NFL Concussion Lawsuits Proceed

Football Safety: Pop Warner Football 2012 Rule Changes Because of Head Injury Concussion Dangers as NFL Concussion Lawsuits Proceed

Football concussions and head injuries in children are finally beginning to get the consideration that we’ve been arguing is needed for awhile now. Recently, for example, famed NFL football player and Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw went on the Tonight Show and told host Jay Leno that if he had a son, Bradshaw wouldn’t let the boy play football because it’s too dangerous: the risk of head injuries is too high.

Children Playing Football: USA’s Biggest Youth Football Organization Changes Rules Now Because of Head Injury Risk

If you are a parent, you’ve heard of Pop Warner Football. It’s the country’s biggest organization for kids who want to play football. Well, this month Pop Warner Football just changed its rules for how Pop Warner games will be played and how practices will be held.

  • Effective 2012, 75% of the football team practice time must be on NON-CONTACT activities. Why? To reduce the risk of head injury.
  • Effective 2012, no full-speed head-on drills (blocking or tackling) will be allowed where the players are lined up more than 3 yards apart. Why? To reduce the risk of head injury and concussion.

You can read the new Pop Warner rules here:

No full speed head-on blocking or tackling drills in which the players line up more than 3 yards apart are permitted. (Having two linemen in stances immediately across the line of scrimmage from each other and having full-speed drills where the players approach each other at an angle, but not straight ahead in to each other are both permitted.)
However, there should be no intentional head-to-head contact!

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). In this context, “contact” means any drill or scrimmage in which drills; down line vs. down line full-speed drills; and scrimmages.

In addition to the above, we would also like to reiterate the technique portion of Rule 14 of the Pop Warner National Rule Book, 11-Man Tackle Football, regarding teaching safe blocking and tackling techniques which states:


In addition to other specific prohibitions in the National Federation and NCAA rulebooks, no butt blocking, chop blocking, face tackling or spearing techniques shall be permitted.

Furthermore, we will be implementing a new Health & Safety section on in conjunction with the re-launch of our national website to keep our members abreast of current issues in concussion awareness and other health and safety matters. We hope that this resource will become a valuable tool for our teams.

Football Head Injury / Concussion Lawsuit Against NFL Continues to Explode

While parents are considering the Pop Warner rule changes and deciding if this is sufficient for them to allow their child to play football or if they will opt for the choice that Terry Bradshaw says he would make, consider this. The lawsuit filed by former pro football players and sadly, their survivors in some situations, against the NFL is intensifying.

Forbes reports that as of this past Tuesday, less than a year after the first pleading was filed, there are now 89 lawsuits with over 2,400 former NFL footlball players named as plaintiffs who have suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of playing pro football. They are suing the NFL, NFL Properties (the merchandising and licensing arm of the NFL), and Riddell (the NFL helmet manufacturer). Forbes also provides a copy of the “Master Complaint” pleading online for your review.

One of the biggest questions in the NFL suit: was the NFL aware that head injuries and concussions were likely and that in some cases, they would severely injure or kill an NFL player? If so, then the lawsuit gets big. Think tobacco litigation big because intent becomes an issue and a similar amount of money is involved. Think that’s silly? Read this article in Niners Nation and think again.

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