PWFC of Eastern Massachusetts cares for our most precious resource. Here is some information we have gathered that is the real facts.
1. Pop Warner Little Scholars enacted a new Concussion Rule in 2010, it was the first National Youth Sports Organization to do so. We adopted this immediately.
2. In 2012, Pop Warner Little Scholars reduced the practice time of contact to 1/3 of the practice hours for their players.
3. Also in 2012 Pop Warner banned head on contact if players begin more than 3 yards of separation
4. PWFC of Eastern Massachusetts in June of 2013 endorses the USA Football HEADS UP tackling program. The first major conference in all of Youth Football to do so. Each association nominated a Player Safety Coach (PSC). The PSC was trained by USA Football's Master Trainers on the program which emphasized the proper basic tackling techniques, how to properly fit helmets and shoulder pads, concussion awareness and the do's and don'ts on returning back to practice once a medical personnel sign off on the return to play. As well as the hands on techniques in training the proper procedures.
5. The PSC would train all of the coaches prior to the season with the above as they were taught by the Master trainers.
6. The PSC would then monitor the progress of each of the teams watching practice and having discussions with the coaching staffs of all of the teams. The training is on-going as the older players are in the process of retraining to the proper techniques in tackling.
7. On August 1, 2013 Pop Warner Little Scholars endorsed the USA Football HEADS UP training and urged its members to join last season and made it a requirement of all of Pop Warner to join this very important program to make the sport safer. We recognize there is no way to make the contact sport of football to be completely safe from injuries but we also recognize that we must train and retrain all of our coaches to make it safer for the players. Pop Warner Little Scholars is the only National Youth Sport to endorse this process, which is why our conference remains involved with Pop Warner Little Scholars as it remains the leader in safety for our children.
8. Some Statistics from various sources
o More kids died of lightning strikes on football fields than being hit by other players (Daniel Flynn, "In Defense of Football')
o In April, five scientists writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine cautioned against such "casual assumptions" regarding contact sports and CTE because of a "cause-and-effect relationship remains to be shown scientifically" (British Journal of Sports Medicine via Stone Hearth News)
o California suffered seven times as many collision deaths from skateboarding last year as the entire United States did from football (Daniel Flynn, "In Defense of Football")
o A study published last year by federal researchers of pension-vested NFL retirees who played between 1959 and 1986 showed that just 10 percent of the group had died, compared with the expected rate of 18 percent. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health concluded that the NFL retirees experience "significantly decreased" mortality relative to their expected rate. (NFLPA)
o The same study, which the NFL Players Association petitioned the institute to conduct, also looked at suicide. The study found a suicide rate for the retired athletes significantly below the expected rate (NFLPA)
o There were two direct fatalities in football at all levels in 2012. There were eight direct fatalities in school gym classes. (Daniel Flynn, "In Defense of Football")
o More kids go to the emergency rooms with the TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) from biking accidents than from football hits, and the percentage of ER visits for TBIs in football (7.2 percent) was lower than in a bunch of sports, including soccer, baseball, hockey of all types, ice skating, ATV and dirt-bike riding and, most dangerous, horseback riding, where ER visit is twice as likely to involve a brain injury than football. (ESPN.com)
o Sports concussions (all sports combined) comprise 10% of concussions incurred (Dr Todd Maugans)
These are some important factors to consider allowing your child to participate in Pop Warner football. Football and the NFL are under attack as they make an easy target because of their popularity and financial status. They sell newspapers and air time. No one is thinking I shouldn’t send my child to gym class but as the above states there were four times the number of deaths than all of football combined (youth, high school, college and pros). Drop in participation in youth football is mentioned but only Lacrosse has experienced a growth with baseball and other sports leading the way of drop in participation. This misleading statistics is the reason everyone is talking about football and the declining numbers of participation.
I am proud to be a member of Pop Warner Football, we are not FRIDAY NIGHT TYKES, the reality show that is currently being aired, rather we are a youth association interested in teaching our youth team work, basic skills, and more important life lessons. It takes courage to play football. The courage every child needs to have to grow and face in their everyday life. You get hit you get up and try again. You receive self-esteem of being able to accomplish the little life battles and display them at practice or on the field. It is not scoring the winning touchdown or the interception that wins a game that matters as much as making the block that opened the hole for the running back to run for that touch down, It is the linemen making the quarter back to rush their pass that ultimately gets intercepted, it is the player that makes his opponent to have to hesitate to make the play. It is TEAMWORK that wins. It takes commitment, dedication, a sense of accomplishment, the teaching of giving your very best on each and every play that matters. Our children always matter and that is why Pop Warner Football is best life lessons being played on a field together based on Age and weights.
Thanks for taking the time to read this
Joe Panniello, President of Pop Warner Football Conference of Eastern Massachusetts