Posts Tagged ‘AYF’

AYF Study: 2005-15 Concussion Trends in Youth Tackle Football

Provides perspective for impact of education, getting head out of tackle, and practice restrictions

The latest American Youth Football (AYF) study on concussion trends reveals that education of administrators, coaches, parents, and players is having a positive impact on the identification of and more aggressive response to concussions. On the other hand, popular initiatives to remove the head from the tackle and practice contact restrictions may have a more limited role than portrayed by various groups due to the high percentage of concussions that would not be impacted by these measures. Nevertheless, these initiatives are important components of a broad based brain injury/concussion risk management program.

Updated statistics based on Accident insurance claims for 2005-15 seasons

AYF is the largest youth football organization in the U.S. and represents a wide cross section of players aged five to 15.  The data in this study is based on Accident insurance claims filed with the endorsed AYF insurance program through Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance. An injury questionnaire consisting of some 20 questions is completed by the authorized team official as a part of the claims filing process and the answers are input into a database. A variety of reports can be produced to drill down to answer specific questions about concussions. The study includes 3,855 injuries reported from 2005 through 2015 of which 434 are concussions. This study is a representative sample of concussion trends occurring not only in AYF, but in youth tackle football as a whole.

Concussions as a percentage of total injuries

What this tells us about the positive impact of concussion education

2015 14.48%
2014 16.18%
2013 16.41%
2012 15.99%
2011 11.55%
2010 7.73%
2009 8.20%
2008 6.36%
2007 5.88%
2006 3.80%
2005 6.72%
Total All Years 11.26%

Notice the spike in concussions reported in 2011 and continuing through 2015. This coincides with the media reports of the NFL class action lawsuit, other concussion related lawsuits, autopsies indicating CTE in deceased pro football players, and anecdotal stories of disabled pro athletes. This also coincides with the beginning of widespread and heavily publicized educational efforts on behalf of the Center for Disease Control and various football-sanctioning and governing bodies on concussion recognition, removal-from-play, medical response, and return-to-play protocols.

It appears that the media attention and educational efforts to train administrators, coaches, parents, and players are having a positive impact in that concussions are taken more seriously and reported more frequently than in past years. Suspected concussions are resulting in increased rates of emergency room and doctor office visits, and diagnosed concussions are resulting in more follow up care as pertains to return-to-play protocols. Overall, Accident insurance carriers are experiencing increased claims payouts for concussion care.

Concussion by situation (physical cause at point of contact)

What this tells us about initiatives to remove the head from the tackle and to limit contact at practice

Tackled by player 23%
Contact with ground 23%
Collision with opponent 18%
Tackling player 7%
Blocked by player 7%
Collision with teammate 6%
Blocking player 5%
Other 3%
Total 100%

The initiative to take the head out of contact as detailed by the Seahawks Tackling video or Heads Up Football (HUF) is very important, but not the magic silver bullet to solve the concussion problem in youth tackle football.

For argument’s sake, assuming that the initiative to remove the head from the tackle is 100% effective in reducing concussions (Datalys study by Kerr on HUF refutes this – see paragraph below), this would result in a reduction of concussions by 30% (sum of tackled by player 23% plus tackling player 7%). If heads-up blocking is added to this equation, that would result in a total reduction of 42% (add blocked by player 7% plus blocking player 5%). The other 58% of concussion claims that occur due to contact with ground, collision with opponent, collision with teammate, and other would not be touched by this initiative.

The above analysis assumes that HUF is 100% effective in reducing concussion claims arising from tackling and blocking. To the contrary, the Datalys study by Kerr in Table 2 indicates that HUF-only leagues have slightly higher concussion rates that non-HUF leagues. Let’s hope that future concussion studies with more participants reach a different conclusion.

On the other hand, the initiative to limit contact at practice would likely have a larger impact in reducing concussions among more categories of physical causes of loss, including contact with ground, collision with opponent, and collision with teammate.

Concussion by activity being performed


Tackling 33%
Running with ball 30%
Blocking 15%
Running w/out ball 6%
Shedding blocker 5%
Passing 3%
Catching ball 2%
Recovering fumble 1%
Other 5%
Total 100%

Concussion by event type (practice or game)

What this tells us about initiatives to remove the head from the tackle and to limit contact at practice

Practice 32%
Game 65%
Other 3%
Total 100%

Since most concussions occur during games and not practices, the initiative to limit contact at practice would only impact those 32% of concussions that occur during practice. With regard to the initiative to remove the head from the tackle, it’s easier to get the head out of the tackle in controlled practice drills as opposed to live action during games, and as a result, its effectiveness should be expected to be diminished as well.

Concussion by position played


Running back 20%
Linebacker 16%
Defensive line 16%
Quarterback 10%
Offensive line 8%
Secondary 7%
Receiver 4%
Practice drills 4%
Kickoff returner 2%
Kickoff blocker 2%
Kickoff tackler 2%
Punt tackler 1%
Punt return blocker 1%
Other 7%
Total 100%


Concussion by type of play from perspective of injured participant


Offense 42%
Defense 42%
Receiving kickoff 4%
Other practice 3%
Kicking off 2%
Punting 1%
Kicking field goal/extra point 1%
Other 5%
Total 100%

The kickoff accounts for 6% of total concussion injuries: 4% when receiving kickoffs plus 2% when kicking off. That statistic does not seem to be out of proportion with the total percentage of plays in a typical game that are kickoffs. Pop Warner recently banned kickoffs for ages 10 and under starting with the 2016 season due to perceived risks.  Based on our statistics, banning kickoffs would not appear to reduce concussion rates.

Concussion and absence from play


2011-2015 2005-2010
1 to 3 Weeks 44% 46%
3+ Weeks 27% 15%
1 to 7 Days 11% 18%
None 2% 7%
Unknown/Not Answered 16% 15%
Total 100% 100%

The period from 2011 to 2015 shows increased absence from play, i.e. later return-to-play times, presumably due to following suggested return-to-play protocols. The 3+ weeks category shows a significant increase with significant decreases in the “1 to 7 Days” and “None” categories. This is further evidence that increased educational initiatives are having a positive impact on concussion treatment.

Concussion and weight of injured player compared to other players


About-average weight 78%
Below-average weight 10%
Above-average weight 6%
Significantly below-average weight 1%
Significantly above-average weight 1%
Other 4%
Total 100%

It appears that players of below-average weight are only slightly more susceptible to concussions than players in the other weight categories. Players classified as significantly below-average weight have the same percentage of concussions as players of significantly-above average weight.

Conclusions about concussions from the study of Accident insurance claims

The higher rates of concussion reporting and more aggressive medical care and return-to-play protocols seem to validate that concussion education is having a positive impact. Initiatives to get the head out of the tackle and to limit contact at practice, while not game changers in themselves, are important components of a broad based concussion/brain injury risk management program as they have the potential to reduce a significant percentage of concussions and subconcussive impacts. Our statistics indicate that practice restrictions may play a larger role than removing the head from the tackle. Additional studies with more participants are required before firm conclusions can be drawn on these concussion reducing initiatives.

Sadler Insurance Introduces New Improved AYF Insurance Webpage and Video

Sadler Sports Insurance has updated the American Youth Football/Cheer Insurance webpage for an enhanced user experience. The new webpage allows our AYF prospects and clients to access all insurance and risk management services (ex: applying, renewing, issuing certificates, add/delete teams, claims, etc.) without ever having to speak to a Sadler staff member. However, should a client have a question or need help with a service request, we stand ready to assist by chat, email, or phone. We’re proud of our service staff, which has a 98% “awesome” rating by the prospects and clients who have contacted us. The new webpage also lists all of our football and cheer specific risk management content on the same page so that it is no longer necessary to navigate to another page on our website.

In addition, we just produced a new video that we prepared for our local  AYF team/association/conference prospects and clients that explains all aspects of our insurance and risk management program. The video covers the following topics:

  • Risks of going uninsured or underinsured
  • 12 reasons why our program blows away the competition
  • Brief description of all 5 policies and why you need them
  • What you need to know before you apply
  • How to apply
  • How to access policy services
  • A review of our most important risk management content and blog articles

This video can be found by scrolling down the webpage and can be viewed individually or played for a small group to educate your board and administrators.

We hope you’ll check out our new website by clicking here. 

The Positive Impact of Concussion Awareness

Reporting and treatment in youth football on the rise

Injury data taken from the county’s largest youth football organization, American Youth Football (AYF) paints a bright picture. The data indicates that recent increased awareness and education of administrators, coaches, parents, and players is resulting in greater concussion identification and more aggressive medical treatment and follow up.

According to claims data from the AYF-endorsed Accident insurance plan, the rise in incidents of concussions to total injuries reported began in 2011. This coincides with the media’s first reports on high profile concussion lawsuits and alarming injury studies. The trend continued in 2012 and 2013.

Percentage of concussions to total injuries:

2005 – 2010       6.7%  average
2011                11.5%
2012                16.4%
2013                16.4%

What the numbers mean

This is concrete evidence that educational awareness and concussion recognition, treatment, removal, and return to play protocols Concussion diagnosisare having a positive impact on protecting youth, according to John Sadler, president of Sadler Sports Insurance. In the past, many concussions were missed or ignored. When concussions were identified, parents tended to self-treat with a wait-and-see approach. Now, many more concussions and potential concussions are being identified with more emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, and follow ups with concussion experts who are critical in helping parents and athletes making return-to-play decisions.

Education is critical

We believe and statistics prove that the more you know about concussions, the better prepared you are to deal with them. We encourage you to read our other articles on concussions, which include information on American Youth Football’s concussion risk management initiatives.

How We Protect Against Concussions

Help us spread the word

Safety is priority #1 here at Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance, particularly with regard to young athletes and concussions. That being said, nothing would please us more than to have like-minded football organizations adopt the techniques demonstrated in the Seattle Seahawks’ tackle video. Doing so sends a clear message to your participants, parents, volunteers and visitors that you’re serious about risk management and protecting your youth from serious injury.

How We Protect Against Concussions

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Protecting your business from injury claims

Did you know that liability protection is critical for all football teams and leagues? It only takes one injury-related lawsuit to financially ruin your organization. Having the right insurance protection offers you peace of mind.

Getting the right insurance coverage does not have to be complicated if you work with an agency like SADLER. The insurance experts at SADLER understand your needs and the unique risks associated with your sports or recreation organization.

If you would like to learn more about liability prevention or are ready to get a customized insurance quote, simply apply online now or call us toll free at 1-800-622-7370.

There are absolutely no obligation or commitments, and your quote will be sent in just a few hours in most cases. With no application fees and the most competitive rates in the industry, you’ve got nothing to lose!

AYF Releases Tackle Injuries Report

Deciphering the statistics

American Youth Football (AYF) is the largest youth football organization in the U.S. and represents a wide cross section of participants aged 5 to 15. Since 2000, AYF’s endorsed insurance provider, Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance, has collected information on 20 injury categories. The data for each category was input into a database and reports were generated to illustrate the injuries occurring in each category.

AYF constantly reviews and monitors tYOUTH FOOTBALLhis information in an effort to better protect its participants. Should a particular area of concern come to light, more detailed reports can be run to determine if a problem exists that needs additional attention. For example, when concerns arose over the potential dangers of age-only vs. age/weight categories, a report was run that indicated that the risks of injuries in age-only weight categories was about the same as age/weight categories. As regards concussion concerns, AYF will track the frequency of concussions to total injuries over time to determine the impact of parent/player education, coach training on concussion recognition, return to play policies, and improved tackling techniques .

Due to the limitation of this study, it tends to understate minor injuries that were never reported and tends to overstate the more serious injuries that required medical treatment. However, it does represent a statistically significant overview of the frequency of injuries that occur within AYF and youth tackle football as a whole.

Below is a summary of the leading injury statistics by frequency in each category:

  • Absence From Play

41% for 3 + weeks

20% for 1-3 weeks

12% for 1-7 days

11% not specified; 11%, unknown 7%;  none 5%

Note that many of the less serious injuries were never reported as insurance claims. As a result this category tends to overstate the length of time of absence from play.

  • Activity While Injured

32% running with ball

31% tackling

15% blocking

4% running without ball

  • Body Part Injured

12% knee

12% wrist

10% forearm

8% ankle

7% shoulder/collarbone

7% head/temple

5% finger/thumb; 5% elbow; 4% neck; 3% hand; 3% back.

  • Injured Person

98% football player

1% coach; 1% other

  • Injury Type

49% fracture

13% joint sprain/strain

12% bruise/contusion

5% concussion; 4% dislocation; 3% pulled muscle

Note that the percentage of fractures tends to be overstated since many of the less serious injuries (sprains, bruise/contusions,  cuts/scrapes, pulled muscles) are not serious enough to be reported as insurance claims. Also note that the relative frequency of concussions to total injuries is consistent with other youth football studies.

  • Location On Field

93% on field

1% sidelines; 1% practice field

  • Injury Occurred During

51% game

38% practice

A common misconception is that most injuries in youth tackle football occur during practice. The results clearly indicate that most occur during games. Furthermore, only 28% of concussions occur during practice.

  • Type Of Play

45% offense

35% defense

11% other

2% kicking off; 2% receiving kick off

Note that very few injuries occur during kickoff returns. Therefore, the  kickoff rule changes implemented by the NCAA and NFL to limit concussions during kickoffs would not be as beneficial in youth tackle football.

  • Position Played

24% running back

17% defensive line

11% linebacker

11% offensive line

9% quarterback

6% secondary; 4% receiver; 2% kickoff returner

  • Situation

32% tackled by player

14% tackling player

13% fell on/stepped on by player

10% contact with ground

6% collision with opponent; 5% blocked by player; 4% collision with teammate; 4% blocking player; 2% blocked from behind; 1% non-contact.

Click here for more detailed information.

Weight Limits in Youth Tackle Football

Are they necessary for protecting lighter players?

A study of injuries occurring from 2009 to 2011 in American Youth Football, Inc. indicates that the risks of injuries to lighter players is about the same in the weighted (age groups and maximum weights for all players), modified (age groups and maximum weights for ball carriers only), and unlimited (age groups only) divisions. This is the most recent study to shed light on the hotly debated topic within the youth tackle football community on the pros and cons of weighted vs. unlimited divisions.

A prior Mayo Clinic Study concluded that the number one predictor of injuries in youth tackle football is age and that weight groups would not appear to protect players. The study found that the risk of injury to an eighth grader was four times the risk of injury to a fourth grader. Therefore, the higher the age, the higher the chance of injury, and as a result, correct age groupings are critical to limiting injuries.

The American Youth Football, Inc. study tracked the progression of injuries to players of various weight categories through the weighted, modified, and unlimited divisions. The percentage of total injuries to lighter players (both below average and significantly below average) was about the same regardless of the division in which they participated. The percentage of total injuries to below average weight players ranged from 9.25% (weighted) to 11.50% (modified) to 8.96% (unlimited). The percentage of total injuries to significantly below average weight players ranged from 0.00% (weighted) to .30% (modified) to .71% (unlimited).

Most scientists and doctors who have studied the issue speculate that older players are injured more frequently because they run faster, hit harder, and are more aggressive. However, youth players who are larger don’t necessarily impact with more force if they aren’t fast and strong.

American Youth Football, Inc. and Sadler Sports Insurance are dedicated to giving back to the youth football and cheer community with critical studies on safety issues that impact the quality of the sports experience. All participants in the endorsed AYF Accident/General Liability insurance plan contribute data to these important studies.

See the full version of American Youth Football study on injuries to lighter players in weighted vs modified vs unlimited divisions. And you can read our earlier article debating weighted vs unlimited and a link to the Mayo Clinic study.

Source: John Sadler; Sadler Sports Insurance; American Youth Football, Inc. Accident Insurance Claim Database