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Pop Warner takes the health and safety of its members very seriously. The Pop Warner Medical Advisory Committee is comprised of physicians who specialize in neuro medicine, and sports safety.
They also have a dedicated health and safety page on their website to keep members in the know regarding the latest developments in sports health and safety protocols that should be implemented and adopted. For all you concerned parents out there, we are going to outline five keys safety tips for your Pop Warner football star.
1. Concussion Prevention and Treatment
Any traumatic brain injury should be taken seriously. If your child has received ANY bump or blow to the head, no matter how minor or innocent it may have looked in real time, be sure to monitor for these symptoms very closely:
● Appears to be stunned or dazed
● Has lost consciousness for any length of time
● Unsure of the time or score of the game
● Becomes forgetful or clumsy or has changes in his/her behavior.
In addition to watching your child, be sure to listen to them after the incident as well. If they are complaining about pressure or headache, nausea, dizziness or blurred vision, sensitivity to light or noise, or any mention of not feeling right (groggy, hazy, confused, forgetful, etc...), be sure to take the appropriate action.
If ANY of these symptoms worsen, seek medical attention immediately and follow the direction of the health care professional regarding their return to physical activity. Keep your coach in the know about the injury. The best way to prevent traumatic brain injuries is to be absolutely certain their helmet is certified, wellmaintained, and fitting correctly.
2. Hydration Awareness
The best way to know how much fluid is needed to replenish your child’s body is to calculate their sweat rate. Weigh your child before and after they practice, train, and play in a game, then convert this weight differential to ounces.
This will give you the amount in ounces of fluid (water and electrolyte replacements) your child needs to drink while engaging in physical activity. Waiting until they are thirsty is too late, and ineffective in proper rehydration. Due to rates of absorption, the fluid must start being consumed at the beginning of physical activity, not after the fluid has been lost.
3. Nutrition and Healthy Eating Choices
Pop Warner has developed the Eat Smart Play Smart Program to help parents and players develop a healthy nutrition plan full of essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, hydration, as well as taking on an active lifestyle beyond youth football, and practicing smart, safe play.
4. Limited Contact Rules for Practice
Relatively new to Pop Warner is their protocol for limited or no contact practices and drills. This will help the kids focus on skill and technique, and reduce the likelihood of injuries during practice. The rule was implemented in the official Pop Warner rulebook in 2013. Be sure to read the new rules and explain them to your children, so everyone understands the importance of Safe Play.
5. General Health and Safety Guidelines
In addition to the no contact practice rule, there have been some new restrictions put on blocking and tackling during play. There shall be no buttblocking, chopblocking, spearing, or face tackling. For other Health and Safety Guidelines, be sure to visit the Health and Safety page on Pop Warner’s website: www.popwarner.com.
Parents need to take an active role in their child’s safety, especially when it comes to youth football. There is an extraordinary amount of information, rules, equipment, and precautions every child and parent should take to ensure their kids are safe while they have fun.