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Pop Warner Adopts New Safety Program

Andy Berg

The largest youth football league in the United States will implement USA Football’s American Development Model this year.

USA Football’s ADM is backed by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The program solidifies a system of safety protocols and entry points to the sport, allowing Pop Warner to offer flag football, rookie tackle, and traditional 11-player tackle.

Jon Butler, Pop Warner's executive director, told the Bristol Herald Courier that the change will make the sport safer and more enjoyable. "With recent changes, things like eliminating kickoffs for our youngest divisions, limiting contact to 25 percent of all practice time, and requiring clearance from a medical professional certified in concussion management before a player with a suspected head injury can return to play, we make our game better and safer,” Butler said.

The ADM has already been implemented in several other sports whose national governing bodies, like football, have earned USOC membership. Pop Warner will begin by communicating the change to parents and coaches and the organization will be begin implementing the ADM this fall.

Scott Hallenbeck, CEO of USA Football, has supported the inclusion of the ADM. "We strongly believe in football's American Development Model to offer a smart progression, empowering parents and players with multiple entry points and options to choose from,” Hallenbeck said in a statement. “I applaud Pop Warner's decision to embrace USA Football's ADM and for encouraging their leagues to make this pathway part of their program."

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