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NFL, NFLPA commends youth football efforts to reduce contact

parents-guide-pop-warner-1 Getty Images

If the league and union are going to agree on anything, the best thing on which to agree is the safety of youth football players.

In a joint announcement, the NFL and NFLPA have commended the efforts of Pop Warner football and USA Football to promote player health and safety.

Pop Warner recently has limited contact in practice to one third of practice time, and banning full-speed, head-on blocking and tackling drills in which players line up more than three yards apart.

USA Football announced in May an initiative to remove from use helmets that are 10 years old or older.  In February, USA Football declared that it has commissioned a full-season study of youth football, which will document player health and any injuries suffered in 10 different youth leagues.

“We are pleased that USA Football and Pop Warner have taken these steps,” NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson said in the joint release. “Our hope is that other football leagues and organizations will take the same initiative to review current medical recommendations on player safety and the updated rules and procedures adopted by many football leagues, including the NFL.”

“Player health and safety is important at all levels of the game,” NFLPA Senior Director of Player Services and Development Jason Belser said. “We commend the commitment of USA Football and Pop Warner to their athletes by taking the initiative at the introductory level.  This should serve as an example for all youth, high school and college programs.”

The changes at the lower levels of the sport quite possibly flow from the NFL’s efforts to reduce contact in practice.  And if it’s indeed an example of the trickle-down dynamic, here’s hoping that the NFL takes more steps to make the game safer in ways that won’t alter the nature of the sport.

Of course, that would require even more agreements between the NFL and NFLPA.

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7 Responses to “NFL, NFLPA commends youth football efforts to reduce contact”
  1. blackandbluedivision says: Jun 26, 2012 3:24 PM

    Why don’t you teach these kids how to make a proper tackle or train the coaches how to handle concussions instead of continuing to make this game softer?

  2. finfan88shark says: Jun 26, 2012 4:15 PM

    Next up no contact football

  3. blackcatnfl says: Jun 26, 2012 4:19 PM

    Since little is done to actually enforce rules of Pop Warner organizations, this will virtually guarantee competition between teams hitting all the time and teams following the rules. Pop Warners Super Bowls provide all the incentive needed for teams to justify cheating as much as they can to get national exposure. You want to find the dirtiest programs? Start there.

  4. blackcatnfl says: Jun 26, 2012 4:24 PM

    Pop Warner is so corrupt, they don’t even publish their organizational RULE BOOK publicly!!!!! You know the book that says, “Coaches should treat their players well”, real top secret stuff.

    Most parents and volunteers wouldn’t even know if their organization is BREAKING the rules, because they don’t even have access to what the rules are!!

  5. prmpft says: Jun 26, 2012 4:33 PM

    yea, and just wait until we have a draft full of kids who grew up not hitting – that’ll be exciting – why not just abolish football altogether? why don’t we all just start having book-clubs and makeup parties instead.

  6. stikolaboloni says: Jun 26, 2012 5:12 PM

    Sounds smart. Shield kids from learning how to proper form tackle in game-like situations. That’ll help ‘em to handle themselves in a real game when that bulldozer running back kid busts through the line with a full head of steam headed straight for your kid. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to track injuries to kids who lowered their head because they didn’t know any better

  7. tonyd219 says: Jun 27, 2012 11:40 AM

    prmpft says:
    Jun 26, 2012 4:33 PM
    yea, and just wait until we have a draft full of kids who grew up not hitting – that’ll be exciting – why not just abolish football altogether? why don’t we all just start having book-clubs and makeup parties instead.

    ___________________________________

    EXACTLY!!! This is starting to get ridiculous… Im not that old (mid 30’s) but when I was a kid things were different… you went out and played… you got hurt, you saw the trainer, wrapped it in tape and went back out there…

    These kids are getting babied too much… it’s ruining not only the game of football but the nation as a whole… each generation is becoming softer and softer…

    Contact is part of the sport… Proper technique is the answer… not less contact…

    People need to wake the fk up and stop babying the younger generations… I understand that no one wants their kid to get hurt but it’s part of the game –

    By limiting contact in practice it’s only hurting these kids MORE – if they practice all week with little to no contact they are not properly preparing themselves for a game and someone is going to get really hurt – especially like someone above pointed out about the bulldozing running back running full speed at an unsuspecting LB or DB…

    Whats next? Limited contact games????

    Pretty soon we’re going to be watching the NFFL (National Flag-Football League)

    My son twisted his ankle pretty bad in a pop warner game (11-12yo) – I was the coach, my wife was in the stands and saw what happened… she came running down from the stands and tried to run onto the field (in her words she wanted to “comfort” him…) I wouldn’t let her onto the field – and I watched as his teammates helped him up and carried him to the bench… I had the doc tape his ankle, had him walk around a little on it and sent him back into the game…

    Playing with a little pain and playing through an injury builds character… it made him tougher, it built his confindence, and his teammates looked up to him and played harder because of it…

    Now if I had let his mother run out onto the field how do you think that would have made him feel? think about it… how would the other kids have reacted/looked at him?

    And before anyone freaks out – it was just a sprain, it wasn’t broken or anything

    All I’m saying is we need to stop babying these kids… it’s getting ridiculous…

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