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One youth football game - five concussions

October 23, 2012
By Solomon Alexander of Sportsmanship

Two Central Massachusetts youth football teams face tough sanctions from their Pop Warner league after a recent game saw five kids ages 10-12 suffer concussions. That's right. Five kids from the Tantasqua Pee Wees suffered concussions against rival Southbridge during a game last month. Pop Warner officials deemed serious head injuries to five children wholly unaccepable and suspended both team's coaches for the remainder of the season and placed them on probation through the 2013 season as well.

But the sanctions didn't stop there. Both the Tantasqua and Southbridge association presidents were placed on probation through 2013 and the game's referees were banned for life. Pop Warner's strong stance on this situation came from the premise that child safety should come before anything else. League officials viewed Southbridge's actions as reckless and dangerous in their attempts to injure Tantasqua players. They also saw Tantasqua as negligent towards its own players. 

Pop Warner's code of conduct requires all adults to protect players at all times. Officials felt Tantasqua did not live up to its responsibility. At no time did the coaching staff or administrators in attendance complain to the officials or threaten to pull their kids off the field. Referees were disciplined because the 52-0 game called for mercy rules to be enforced and they were not. In the end, Pop Warner held the adults responsible for what happened to the kids and they were right to do so.

Child safety should not be lip service. All sports carry a degree of risk and some more than others. No matter the physiciality of the sport, there should never be an unreasonable risk of injury or harm due to faulty equipment or in this case - faulty adults. Click on this link to view the full story from Fox 25 in Boston. Our kids need us to lead, teach, love and protect them. We must do better.

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