The injury rate in Pop Warner Football is:
less than one-third the injury rate in high school football (AND) less than one-fifth the injury rate in college football (AND) less than one-ninth the injury rate in professional football.
Furthermore, Pop Warner's age-weight schematic protects younger, lighter players, who do not have higher injury rates.
The Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York completed a Pop Warner injury survey in 71 towns covering over 5,000 players in 1998. The injury experience of 5,128 boys (8 to 15 years of age, weight 22.5 to 67.5 kg [50 to 150 lb]) participating in youth football revealed an overall rate of significant injury of 5%, with 61% classified as moderate and 38.9% as major injuries. That's about 1.33 per team per year. No catastrophic injuries occurred, and it was rare for a permanent disability to result from any injury.
2012 Rule Changes Regarding Practice & Concussion Prevention:
In our continuing efforts to provide the safest playing environment for our young athletes, and in light of developing concussion research, we would like to announce some important rule changes for the 2012 season.
With these rule changes, Pop Warner becomes the first youth football organization to officially limit contact during practices. The changes can be found in the 2012 Official Pop Warner Rule Book and are a result of the advice of our Medical Advisory Board and the direct input of Pop Warner regional and local administrators and coaches.
According to the National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA), Research shows that relying on thirst may cause athletes to underestimate fluid needs and replace on average only about 50% of the fluid lost in sweat. Therefore, the NATA recommends athletes drink on a schedule based on their individual sweat rate, regardless of thirst, to ensure that they are replacing sweat losses.
NATA recently convened an Inter-Association Task Force comprised of 18 sports medicine groups and injury prevention and health professional organizations to release an Exertional Heat Illnesses Consensus Statement. The Consensus Statement, which applies to activity at all levels of intensity, states:
THIRST IS NOT ENOUGH: There is scientific research to support the idea that thirst is not an optimal way to determine when and how much an athlete should drink. By the time an athlete is thirsty, they are already somewhat dehydrated and in most cases will not drink enough to fully replace the fluids lost in sweat.
TO BE SAFE, KNOW YOUR SWEAT RATE: Rather than relying on thirst or simply drinking as much as you can tolerate (which can also be dangerous), knowing how much you sweat is the best way to determine hydration needs. To figure out how much you sweat, weigh yourself before and after exercise. The weight you lost in ounces represents fluid and that amount is how much should be consumed (in total) before, during and after exercise to adequately replace sweat and keep the body balanced.
REPLACE FLUIDS & ELECTROLYTES LOST: Optimal hydration is the replacement of fluids and electrolytes based on individual needs. Drinking a sports drink helps replace the key electrolytes lost in sweat.