Organizations jointly encourage all youth, high school and college programs to evaluate existing protocols
The NFL and the NFL Players Association jointly salute Pop Warner and USA Football today for reaffirming their commitment to player health and safety.
Recently, Pop Warner announced it will make important changes to limit contact in practice. The changes will be in place for the 2012 season and limit contact drills to one-third of practice time and ban full-speed, head-on blocking and tackling in which players line up more than three yards apart.
In May, USA Football – in partnership with the NFL, NFLPA and other organizations – announced an initiative to remove helmets that are 10 years old or older and replace them with new helmets at no cost to the beneficiary leagues. The program will also provide coaches with the latest educational information to help keep their young athletes safer and healthier.
In February, USA Football announced that it had commissioned the first full-season youth football study, which will be conducted in 2012.The independent scientific study will document player health and any sustained injuries during the course of the upcoming season in 10 youth football leagues of varying size and demographics.
The NFL and the NFLPA jointly encourage football governing bodies at all levels to join in these efforts by doing a thorough evaluation of their current health and safety procedures and enacting necessary changes.
“We are pleased that USA Football and Pop Warner have taken these steps,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson. “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,” said Jason Belser, NFLPA Senior Director of Player Services and Development. “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.”
In the 2011 CBA, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to restrict offseason practices and limiting the amount of hitting that can occur. These new rules are intended to curb the rate and severity of hits, specifically concussions. The changes also allow the players more time, which is crucial for recovery and repair.
The numerous modifications include limiting NFL offseason workouts to nine weeks, five fewer than previously specified and reducing the maximum number of organized team activities from 14 to 10. Additionally, during minicamp, two-a-day practices have effectively been eliminated, as any second practices are limited to a non-helmet walkthrough.
USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its teams and the NFLPA.
# # #