Last month during a Pop Warner game involving children between the ages of ten and 12, one team won the game 52-0, while the opposing team had five children sustain concussions and kept playing with these deadly head injuries.
In the aftermath of the game, many coaches, officials and league personnel have been suspended for various amounts of times, or barred forever from the program.
Pop Warner apparently strengthened its safety procedures to help prevent such incidents, but the questions remain: how did five children sustain concussions during the game, and why wasn’t the mercy rule enforced?
“Kids need to feel safe when playing a youth sports program, especially one as potentially dangerous as football,” Matt Elder, Program Director of i9 Sports, said. i9 Sports offers various youth sports programs in Middlesex and Worcester Counties, including flag football for children age 4-14.
Elder said strengthening protocols to ensure child safety are extremely important, but these procedures are essentially meaningless unless enforced.
“I know a lot of great people who work in tackle programs, but this incident shows a complete an utter breakdown of common sense as well as league-implemented safety procedures,” Elder said. “There have been so many studies and reports recently showing the potentially damage of head injuries, the fact this game was allowed to go on considering the circumstances is very troubling.”
Clearly one team was much better than the other team, and while all teams should get a chance to play together, children’s safety needs to be paramount and the be-all, end-all deciding factor, Elder said.
“I’m all about healthy competition and children trying their best to learn life lessons and succeeding in their chosen sport. However, the seven or eight adults at the field, including the league’s president’s, were grotesquely negligent during the game."
Elder said his programs offer a safe alternative to tackle football, and more and more parents were reaching out to him and his program because of the recent incidents and studies showing potential dangers of concussions and tackle football at a young age.
During the flag football games at i9 Sports, Elder said, there is typically less contact involved than a youth soccer game. At his flag football programs, children can continue to learn the fundamentals of the game and play the game in a safe environment.
i9 Sports offers youth sports programs for kids age 3-14 in the Framingham, Marlborough and Shrewsbury area. Visit www.i9sports.com today for details on all of our programs. Mention this article and receive $15 off any fall program!