Pop Warner is the country’s largest youth football league. It recently settled a lawsuit with a family whose son played in the league and who later committed suicide. There were findings of degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, (CTE)which is linked to repetitive head trauma.
The family’s son played Pop Warner football for four years. The decedent killed himself at age 25, he also played high school football.
The settlement is significant because it may affect further claims of other families against sports leagues and organizations, for not doing enough to protect young athletes. There are millions of children who play in sports leagues, with less experienced coaches, and less medical supervision than college and professional leagues.
Pop Warner states that it has made safety rules changes to reduce the risk of head injuries. It states that it has guidelines that instruct coaches to remove players they suspect of having received a concussion. It also states that it requires that a licensed medical professional decide if a player who suffered a concussion is ready to return to playing. The number of full contact practices has been reduced.
The number of male high school football players and the number of Pop Warner players has fallen last year, compared to the prior five years before.