Pop Warner youth football will look a little different when kids return to the field this September. The organization has called to end the traditional three-point stance in an effort to curb head injuries and concussions among young players.
The position of placing hands on the ground and lowering the head in anticipation of snapping the ball will no longer be allowed. The belief is that this position puts the head in a vulnerable spot where it can easily be knocked around by another player or knocked into the ground.
This ruling will affect kids in the youngest age groups –Tiny Mite (5 to 7 years old), Mitey Mite (7 to 9 years old), and Junior Pee Wee (8 to 10 years old).
Concussions and the potential long-term effects caused by traumatic brain injuries are a serious concern for football organizations. Research shows these injuries may lead to serious medical conditions including chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE—a form of dementia due to damaged brain tissue.
Efforts to protect young players’ brains are being ramped up all over the country.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin’s board-certified neurologist Dr. Kate Labiner recently commented on the new stance guidelines for a story on Spectrum News. “Those small hits that happen over and over that do not necessarily cause one big, obvious injury, are the ones that long term we are more worried about,” says Dr. Labiner.
She further adds that, “I don’t believe kids need to stop playing football. What I want is for kids to play in the safest and healthiest way possible. That’s for football and all other contact sports.”
In addition to eliminating the three-point stance, Pop Warner is also doing away with the kickoff in the Pee Wee division to cut down on tackling at high speeds.
You can view the full story featuring Dr. Labiner on Spectrum News right here.
Child Neurology Consultants of Austin evaluates and treats children from birth through young adulthood with neurologic conditions throughout Central Texas. If you have concerns about your child’s risk of concussion in sports, please contact us for an appointment with one of our board-certified child neurologists.