28 Feb, 2019
Pop Warner Becomes First National Football Organization to Eliminate 3-Point StanceNation’s oldest youth football program is also eliminating kickoffs in a fourth division and introducing age-specific programs.
LANGHORNE, PA – Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., the nation’s longest serving youth football organization, today announced that it will become the first national football program at any level to eliminate the three-point stance as it advances efforts to make the sport safer for young people.
The ban, which will be introduced in Pop Warner’s three youngest divisions this season, is aimed at changing how offensive and defensive linemen engage in contact when the ball is snapped.
Under the new rule, players in Tiny Mite (5-7 years old), Mitey Mite (7-9) and Junior Pee Wee (8-10) will not be allowed to position themselves on the offensive or defensive lines with their hand on the ground before the snap. Instead, they must either be upright or in a modified squat position with their hands on their legs.
“We feel this change will be another major step as we work to create a safer, better football experience for young people,” said Jon Butler, executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “By moving away from the three-point stance at our youngest levels we are changing how players are introduced to the sport and how they learn to play the game. We also are setting the stage for our higher levels of play to adopt the change. Because our sport has been willing to evolve over the past 150 years it is better and safer today than it ever was, while maintaining what makes it so great.”
“When making decisions like this we first look at them from a medical standpoint and examine whether the change will make the playing experience safer for our young athletes. We believe this rule does that,” said Julian Bailes, MD, chairman of the Pop Warner Medical Advisory Committee and NorthShore University Health System’s surgical director at NorthShore Neurological Institute and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. “Eliminating the three-point stance should lessen the amount of force between linemen and we expect it will cut down on unintentional helmet contact at the line.”
Pop Warner will use this coming season to assess the new rule in the younger divisions as it considers implementing it later for the program’s higher levels.
Pop Warner also announced two additional changes for the 2019 season, which starts in September:
J Biomech. 2011 October 13; 44(15): 2673–2678. doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.08.003.
PURPOSE: In American football, impacts to the helmet and the resulting head accelerations are the primary cause of concussion injury and potentially chronic brain injury. The purpose of this study was to quantify exposures to impacts to the head (frequency, location and magnitude) for individual collegiate football players and to investigate differences in head impact exposure by player position. A total of 314 players were enrolled at three institutions and 286,636 head impacts were recorded over three seasons.
SUMMARY: While DL, LB, and OL were found to have the lowest head impact magnitudes of all player positions, they had the greatest number of head impacts. This is in agreement with previous reports that offensive and defensive linemen sustain the most frequent head impacts (Broglio, et al., 2009; Mihalik, et al., 2007; Schnebel, et al., 2007)
Schmidt JD, Guskiewicz KM, Mihalik JP, et al. Head Impact Magnitude in American High School Football. Pediatrics. 2016;138(2):e20154231
PURPOSE:Captured and analyzed video from 13 games (n = 3888 viewable head impacts) to determine the following play aspects: quarter, impact cause, play type, closing distance, double head impact, player’s stance, player’s action, direction of gaze, athletic readiness, level of anticipation, player stationary, ball possession, receiving ball, and snapping ball. We conducted random intercepts general linear mixed models to assess the differences in head impact magnitude between play aspects (α = 0.05).
SUMMARY: Preventing head impacts caused by contact with another player may reduce head impact magnitude in high school football. Rule or coaching changes that reduce collisions after long closing distances, especially when combined with the 3-point stance or when a player is being struck in the head, should be considered.