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SOUND OFF: Is Youth Football Too Dangerous?

Central Mass. Pop Warner has banned two youth coaches after five kids (ages 10-12) reportedly received concussions.

The suspension of coaches and officials involved in a Pop Warner football game that resulted in multiple concussions has drawn attention to youth football. 

In what the Boston Globe called "an alarming case of young athletes being put at risk," five children suffered concussions last month in a Pop Warner football game between teams in the Southbridge and Sturbridge area. 

In the game, which ended with a Southbridge Pee-Wee team beating Tantasqua 52-0, the mercy rules were not enforced and at least one boy suffered a concussion on a play that should have been ruled dead, the Globe reported.

The coaches of both teams were suspended for the season, and the league's presidents were placed on probation. In addition, the three officials who worked the game have been permanently banned.

and the national's largest youth football organization, Pop Warner Little Scholars, established rules in 2010 aimed at reducing brain injuries caused by concussions.

The Southbridge/Tantasqua game, however, raises questions about the enforceability of those regulations.

What can, or should, youth leagues do to reduce the risk of injury among athletes? Do you think youth football is dangerous? If you are a parent or coach of a player, what do you do to minimize risk to your players?

Bloodyrue Andrue October 24, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Soccer is a dangerous sport! When I was at the MVRHS I was on the soccer team. Let me express what happened to me. One night on the way home from an off island meet, my team members hung me over the side of the islander rails by my jacket. I was hanging by them off the side of the boat. Later in that season, I was playing a scrimage game with my own team members. I was running for the ball when one of my team mates pushed me from behind and I slammed head on into another of my team mates. I blacked out on the field. My team members told me to get up, that "He had the wind knocked out of him." I got up, David Sylvia walked me back to the school nurse office. The ambulance took me to the hospital. I was given hours of Xrays and pin prodding. I was on a bed on my back with sand bags on either side of my head. For 3 or 4 days there was nothing more painful than being told I was not allowed to move. I despise my experience with TEAM MVRHS soccer! I hated all those that were involved. I will never forget the day I spent pulling up grass after becoming conscious again on the field.
Mel Cross October 25, 2012 at 12:09 AM
The number one concust sport is girls soccer......... put the kids in a bubble, give them an ipad, so they will not get hurt. Sports teach kids many life lessons, and yes you could get hurt, yet you could get run over on main street too. Kids are not allowed to be kids anymore, why??,,? Parents ruin it by being over involved. Put ten kids on the playground, kick a ball out and stand back..........you will be amazed to see the kids work out.
luke lucashensky October 25, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Football has been taken over by coaches who have missed their chance for fame and try to capture it through children.They don't seem to care about the idea of brain damage as this is part of becoming a man.I think wearing a uniform gives these kids a license to be a bully.You see it all the time when a team runs up the score on a weak team. When my kid played fro the the silver bullets he was told he would get helmet stickers for a vicious hit.I removed him from the program.the roots of this problem starts with the coaches who don't care about the safety of the kids but rather their own fame.they need to remember that there is no pride in beating up weaker teams, no respect for the game when you try to hurt other kids and no honor in a game that is played without class
George hartman October 25, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Mel, You are "so" right. My kids (35 & 31) were brought up your way, as I (70+) was. We all stand on our own two feet. Tough sports was a big part of our education.
Mel Cross October 26, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I have to agree, Coaches need to be selected carefully. It is up the board of gov. of the organization to monitor their coaches to ensure they are conducting themselves in a maner that is appropriate. Too many orgainizations get this wrong..... they let coaches continue for the simple reason is that there is few that will step up to that responiblity. It is very difficult to get someone to volunteer.
UpperCapeSpartans March 25, 2013 at 05:29 PM
There is absolutely no excuse for 5 different players to have received concussions in a single game. It's very unfortunate that this occurred and was allowed to happen. There will always exist the risk of injury in sports, particularly contact sports. I believe that the only way to effectively mitigate the risk of injury is to ensure that the youth coaches are qualified to be coaching the game. Nearly every major youth football organization requires coaches to pass certification tests now; yet, many of these courses are not taken very seriously. USA Football has gone out of its' way to develop the "Heads Up Football" program where coaches are taught how to teach proper tackling form. Many youth football organizations will not bother investigating such programs because it's additional administrative overhead and costs that they do not want to deal with...while never bothering to think that stories such as these, where coaches are not putting player safety above all else is going to have a negative impact on youth football as a whole. http://www.UpperCapeSpartans.com

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