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Point Loma Youth Football

Player Safety

Pop Warner football is safer today than at any point in our history, thanks to mandated coaching education, greater awareness of concussions, a changing culture inside the sport and the most stringent rules in the sport. As a nation we know more today than we did 10 years ago and that has led to a safer and better version of youth football.

Did you know that Pop Warner football is safer than soccer? Pop Warner football has 12% fewer injuries per capita among 5-15 year olds than organized soccer in the same age range! (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, NEISS).

The Pop Warner Medical Advisory Committee was formed in 2010 to ensure Pop Warner remains proactive on medical issues affecting football and cheerleading.

The Committee is focused on prevention and proper identification and treatment of concussions, hydration awareness, proper nutrition guidelines, and general health and safety issues.

Led by physicians and researchers with expertise in neuromedicine and sports safety, the Pop Warner Advisory Committee meets annually to discuss new research, advise on policy and rule changes and provide expert advice to the Pop Warner organization to benefit the health & safety of our members on an ongoing basis.

Pop Warner Football has been around since the league inception in 1929 by founder Joseph J. Tomlin.  Since then, participation has steadily increased to today’s record numbers. Over 250,000 youths participated in Pop Warner-sanctioned football programs in 2010, and those numbers continue to grow.

Concussion Return to Play Guidelines

A participant who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or a head injury in a practice, game or competition shall be removed from practice, play or competition at that time based on evaluation and determination by the Head Coach. However, if an official licensed athletic trainer or other official qualified medical professional is on site and available to render such evaluation, that person shall always have final authority as to removal or return to play of the participant.

When an official licensed athletic trainer or other official qualified medical professional is not present, and a parent or guardian of the injured player is serving as head coach, the final authority on removal of a participant shall rest with the league president, association president or the top-ranking assistant head coach; whomever is present and highest in the Pop Warner chain of command.

Any Pop Warner participant who has been removed from practice, play or competition due to a head injury or suspected concussion may not return to Pop Warner activities until the participant has been evaluated by a currently licensed medical professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and receives written clearance to return to play from that licensed practitioner.

In the absence of an official licensed athletic trainer or other official qualified medical professional, at regional Pop Warner events, the Regional Director shall be the final authority on removal of a participant for a suspected head injury or concussion. At national events, the National Football Commissioner or National Cheer Commissioner, depending on the sport in which the participant was engaged, or in their absence the Executive Director, shall be the final authority on removal of a participant for a suspected head injury or concussion.

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. Please check or for Center for Disease Control (CDC) signs and symptoms chart for concussions.

Safety First

Participant safety has always been Pop Warner’s number one priority. The Heads Up Football program is the latest step in delivering a safer program to all Pop Warner players.  Heads Up Football is a unique coach certification program by USA Football that advances player safety through education and nationally endorsed standards. Click here to learn more.  Below is summary of how safety is integrated into everything Point Loma Youth Football does to keep players safe and to avoid injuries.

  • Age and Weight Restrictions – Divisions are separated by age to ensure players are matched by maturity.  The younger Mighty-Mite division (ages 7, 8, and 9) is weight restricted to 45 to 100 lbs.  Click here to see the current division matrix.  

  • Heads Up Coach Training and Certification – All coaches are Heads Up certified by the USA Football Association.  The program includes football fundamentals, practice planning, communication, skill development, first aid, and concussion recognition and response.
  • Shoulder Tackling – Coaches are trained in teaching proper shoulder tackling techniques developed by the Seattle Seahawks, setting a new standard in player safety for minimizing injury.
  • Helmets – Helmets today use advanced technology to protect players. Helmets must be replaced or refurbished every 2 years to ensure players are well protected from impacts.
  • Equipment Checks - Before the start of each game, a third-party checks helmet certification and mouth guards to ensure conformance to league standards.
  • Background Checks – Third party background checks are performed on all coaches and volunteers.
  • Contact Limitations – Practices are structured around league guidelines to regulate contact time to national standards.
  • Conditioning Requirements – Players must complete a minimum 5 days of training and conditioning before putting on pads.

Game Safety Rules

Mitey Mite Game Restrictions: 

  • No kick-off returns
  • Defensive linemen cannot contact the Center on the snap
  • Defense cannot rush on a field goal attempt
  • Elimination of 3 point stance

Jr. Pee Wee Game Restrictions:

  • No kick-off returns
  • Elimination of 3 point stance
Pee Wee Game Restrictions:
  • No kick-off returns


Point Loma Youth Football

3639 Midway Drive Suite B, #267
San Diego, California 92110
Email : [email protected]
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