Lawsuit leads to questions about youth football programs

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Concussions and the lingering and long term effects they can have on the brain has been one of the hottest topics surrounding sports, especially football.

Many football players began learning the sport at a very young age, but now, more and more parents are holding their kids out of football until they get older.

However, if the NFL has taught us anything it doesn’t matter how old you are, repeated blows to the head causes serious, long-term damage to the brain.  

An article by The New York Times details a class-action lawsuit recently filed against Pop Warner, the nation’s largest youth football league. It was filed by two mothers whose sons passed away.

They played football as kids, and it was discovered they had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. The lawsuit claims the Pop Warner Organization “acted with callous indifference,” knowingly putting players at risk for concussions.

The Times article states that the lawsuit accuses the organization of “failing to monitor games, practices, rules, equipment and medical care ‘to minimize the long-term risks associated with brain injuries including repetitive sub-concussive hits’; failing to accurately diagnose brain injuries; and failing to approve the best equipment available.”

This isn’t the first lawsuit Pop Warner has had to fight. They’ve settled several others in the past, but this class-action lawsuit could spell trouble for other smaller youth football programs as well. Ever since the diagnosis of CTE, a neurological disorder caused by repeated blows to the head, youth football organizations have seen their participation levels decline.

These youth organizations won’t be going away anytime soon, and parents can’t be prohibited from enrolling their kids in youth football. But with the ongoing scientific discoveries and litigations like this, there could be some serious changes in the future to youth football.

To read the lawsuit in full, click here.


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