Pop Warner, America's largest youth football organization, faces a crisis. The increasing awareness of the damage football can do to the brain has convinced more and more parents to keep their children away from the sport. Politicians from California to New York have proposed banning tackle football before high school.
This has presented Pop Warner officials with a complicated and difficult dilemma. They cannot deny the emerging science on brain trauma--there is too much established research by this point. Yet they must somehow keep parents and kids from fleeing youth football.
All this hovered in the background as Pop Warner's executive director Jon Butler stood before an audience in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday, attempting to defend his organization's existence.
Bicycling, skateboarding, roller blading, and other childhood activities can also be dangerous, he said. "Kids get concussions in a whole lot of ways."More »