Pop Warner amended its football and spirit concussion safety rules effective September 30, 2010 to provide that:
- Immediate removal where concussion suspected: If a participant suspected of having suffered a concussion or head injury in practice, game or practice, immediate removal from practice, play or competition based on an evaluation and determination by the Head Coach where no certified athletic trainer or other qualified medical professional is on site and available to render such evaluation, except where the Head Coach is the parent or guardian of the injured player, in which case final authority on removal shall rest with whomever is present and is the highest in the Pop Warner chain of command (the league president, association president or the top ranking assistant head coach).
- No return to play without medical evaluation and written clearance. In line with an increasing number of states and high school athletic associations, Pop Warner now bars the return of a player who has been removed from play due to a head injury or concussion from returning until the participant has been (a) evaluated by a currently licensed medical professional "trained in the evaluation and management of concussions" and (b) receives written clearance to return to play from a licensed practitioner.
- Rule at regional events. At regional Pop Warner events, the Regional Director shall be the final authority on removal in the absence of an official licensed athletic trainer or other official qualified professional.
- Rule at national events: The National Football Commissioner or National Cheer Commissioner, or in their absence the Executive Director, shall be the final authority on removal of a participant for a suspected head injury or concussion.
- When in doubt, sit them out. Pop Warner recommends that all decisions be made in the best interest of the children, and that when any doubt exists as to the health of the participants, they sit out.
Posted February 16, 2011