Pop Warner Tackles 3-Point Stance

Concerns over concussion prompts reconsideration

Citing concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) concerns, Pop Warner may eliminate the 3-point stance for linemen. This is the latest of several steps the league has taken after its numbers continue to drop due to parental anxieties over head injuries.

According to ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Pop Warner’s participation levels have dropped in 2011 and 2012 by 5.7% and 4.0% respectively. Although the drop is likely due to several factors, the primary factor is thought to be  brain injury concerns resulting from the adverse publicity over the NFL players’ lawsuit and negative statements by former NFL players.

Pop Warner has adopted an educational program called “Heads Up Football” and has cut back on the number of hours of contact allowed during practices. The latter has been criticized as ineffective as studies show that the vast majority of concussion occur during games.

The next step is to consider additional rules changes to lessen head-to-head impacts. Pop Warner’s chief medical officer, Julian Bailes, stated that “requiring players to start upright would cut down on head-to-head collisions that can lead to brain injuries.

Executive director Jon Butler expressed his concern that “with a rule that sweeping is that politically it’s going to change the game to the point where people get turned off. My personal feeling is that that is where football is ultimately going to go. The question is how we get there.”

What are your thoughts on this potential new rule change? Is there enough medical evidence at this point to justify this change for youth tackle football or should we wait until the scientific community has had more time to study these issues?

Source: Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, “Youth Football Participation Drops,” ESPN.com. 14 Nov. 2013.