Pop Warner Football takes a hit on concussions


A class action lawsuit has been filed against Pop Warner, the youth football league, for neglecting to exercise caution and standards to prevent and manage concussions. Pop Warner has a relationship to Football USA, the youth division of the NFL.

I remember my eldest son getting suited up for Pop Warner football when he was in grade school and we watched the play from the sidelines. It was a near miracle if the kids ran the right way when the ball was in play, but as I think back to the games there were tremendous collisions between players and coaches encouraged the kids to play rough. Now, 40 years later with what I know about Brain Injury, I would not let a grade school child get near Pop Warner football. A few years back, when I was talking with George Visger, a retired NFL player who continues to be a big part of the NFL player advocacy movement, he related that his current cognitive and psychological difficulties probably began with the aggressive play and hits to the head he experienced in youth, high school, college and pro-football. George spent a lot of years of playing football and probably had many more concussions than he can report. NeuroNotes has long been bringing sports concussion issues to the attention of its readers. The action initiated against Pop Warner football hopefully will prevent more youthful players from getting hurt and educate coaches and parents about concussion prevent and management.

The New York Times covered the Pop Warner story in this article.

Willie Nelson sang: Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. We could change that to: Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be linebackers. There is a lot that we know about preventing the effects of multiple concussions, let’s apply that to youth football.

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.

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