HEALTH & SAFETY
The South Shore Longhorns are proud to be a part of the Pop Warner family who constantly strives and makes the Health & Safety of our athletes our #1 priority. On this page below you will find helpful information for a variety of subjects including concussion awareness, hydration, training techniques, injury prevention, risk management and proper equipment.
Check back on this page for any updates throughout the season.
Injury Prevention & Control: Concussions
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth.
Health care professionals may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.
Pop Warner Concussion Policy
IMPORTANT POINT-MEDICAL & CONCUSSIONS
The home team or hosting organization has the responsibility to provide medical coverage at each game or competition. In the absence of a physician and or ambulance on the site, the minimum safety requirement will be the presence of one individual associated with the home team/host organization who is currently EMT qualified or is currently certified in Red Cross Community First Aid and Safety, the P.R.E.P.A.R.E. Course by theNational Center for Sport Safety, or their equivalent.
Work together with your local EMTs to establish an emergency plan that fits your specific area and needs. Your emergency plan should include, but not be limited to, the following:
- introduce or identify trainer/health care provider to visiting coach;
- home team/host organization review emergency plan with visiting team;
- designated duties for coaching staff and or athletes;
- “how to call EMS” next to phone;
- specific directions to your facility for emergency medical service (EMS);
- emergency numbers;
- injury report forms;
- treatment authorization card;
- list of administrators that the coach is required to contact.
Practice your emergency plan early in the season, and repeat often throughout the season. A similar plan should be in place for teams traveling to away games.
All teams are recommended to have a staff member carry the entire team’s medical release forms and emergency numbers for all players and spirit participants in case in an emergency their parent(s) or guardian must be reached. Having the family physician’s number opposite the participant’s name is also recommended.
CONCUSSION RETURN TO PLAY GUIDELINES:
A participant who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or a head injury in a practice, game or competition shall be removed from practice, play or competition at that time based on evaluation and determination by the Head Coach. However, if an official licensed athletic trainer or other official qualified medical professional is on site and available to render such evaluation, that person shall always have final authority as to removal or return to play of the participant.
When an official licensed athletic trainer or other official qualified medical professional is not present, and a parent or guardian of the injured player is serving as head coach, the final authority on removal of a participant shall rest with the league president, association president or the top ranking assistant head coach; whomever is present and highest in the Pop Warner chain of command.
Any Pop Warner participant who has been removed from practice, play or competition due to a head injury or suspected concussion may not return to Pop Warner activities until the participant has been evaluated by a currently licensed medical professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and receives written clearance to return to play from that licensed practitioner.
In the absence of an official licensed athletic trainer or other official qualified medical professional, at regional Pop Warner events, the Regional Director shall be the final authority on removal of a participant for a suspected head injury or concussion. At national events, the National Football Commissioner or National Cheer Commissioner, depending on the sport in which the participant was engaged, or in their absence the Executive Director, shall be the final authority on removal of a participant for a suspected head injury or concussion.
Pop Warner recommends that all decisions be made in the best interest of the children and that when any doubt exists as to the health of the participants, they sit out.
Limited Contact in Pracice Rule
In our continuing efforts to provide the safest playing environment for our young athletes, and in light of developing concussion research, we would like to announce some important rule changes for the 2012 season.
With these rule changes, Pop Warner becomes the first youth football organization to officially limit contact during practices.
These changes can be found in the 2013 Official Pop Warner Rule Book and are a result of the advice of our Medical Advisory Board and the direct input of Pop Warner regional and local administrators and coaches.
The New Rules Are as Follows:
- 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:
RULE 14: BLOCKING AND TACKLING RESTRICTIONS:
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 have implemented a new Health & Safety section on popwarner.com 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.
The Pop Warner National Office staff is available to answer any questions you may have on these rule changes or other coaching and administrative issues. We will host online chats, add helpful tips for practice and planning to our website and Facebook page, and as always will be available by phone and email to answer any questions.
We appreciate your support of this important initiative.
Hydration, Conditioning & Drills
According to the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), Research shows that relying on thirst may cause athletes to underestimate fluid needs and replace on average only about 50% of the fluid lost in sweat. Therefore, the NATA recommends athletes drink on a schedule based on their individual sweat rate, regardless of thirst, to ensure that they are replacing sweat losses.
NATA recently convened an Inter-Association Task Force comprised of 18 sports medicine groups and injury prevention and health professional organizations to release an Exertional Heat Illnesses Consensus Statement. The Consensus Statement, which applies to activity at all levels of intensity, states:
THIRST IS NOT ENOUGH: There is scientific research to support the idea that thirst is not an optimal way to determine when and how much an athlete should drink. By the time an athlete is thirsty, they are already somewhat dehydrated and in most cases will not drink enough to fully replace the fluids lost in sweat.
TO BE SAFE, KNOW YOUR SWEAT RATE: Rather than relying on thirst or simply drinking as much as you can tolerate (which can also be dangerous), knowing how much you sweat is the best way to determine hydration needs. To figure out how much you sweat, weigh yourself before and after exercise. The weight you lost in ounces represents fluid and that amount is how much should be consumed (in total) before, during and after exercise to adequately replace sweat and keep the body balanced.
REPLACE FLUIDS & ELECTROLYTES LOST: Optimal hydration is the replacement of fluids and electrolytes based on individual needs. Drinking a sports drink helps replace the key electrolytes lost in sweat.
For more information, please visit the National Athletic Trainers' Association website.