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Aug, 2018

90 Years of Pop Warner Football

Langhorne, PA – When it kicks off in September, Pop Warner Little Scholars, the nation’s oldest youth football organization, will be entering its 90th season playing youth football. Recognized as the country’s preeminent youth football, cheer and dance organization, Pop Warner has provided millions of young people with the opportunity to play, learn and grow from the sport for nearly a century.

“Pop Warner has had a significant impact on youth football by emphasizing both academics and athletics,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “Celebrating 90 years is an incredible milestone, and we congratulate this organization for its continued good work over the past nine decades.”

To mark the milestone, Pop Warner is partnering with a number of NFL franchises to honor youth football in stadiums across the country by hosting Pop Warner scrimmages during halftime, sharing a video tribute in stadium, conducting pre-game recognition and celebrating Pop Warner on social media.

“Pop Warner football has been a staple for millions of young people from our nation’s inner-city neighborhoods, suburban towns and rural communities for 90 years,” said Jon Butler, Pop Warner Little Scholars’ executive director. “Thanks to the commitment of thousands of volunteers, young people have not only developed athletic skills and competed in a great sport, but also learned important life lessons, which is what we’re most proud of. We look forward to continuing our mission of enabling young people to benefit from participating in team sports and activities in a structured environment for many years to come.”

“Like the game itself, Pop Warner embodies a spirit of innovation,” USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck said. “Its forward thinking encompasses USA Football coach certification, smarter practice guidelines and embracing our American Development Model for greater physical literacy and skill development. We’re inspired to stand with Pop Warner’s leadership and will continue to serve the players and families of Pop Warner programs for another 90 years.”

Founded by Joseph J. Tomlin in 1929 as a way to keep idle kids out of trouble, Pop Warner has since grown into a national organization with more than 325,000 youth participants across its football, cheer and dance programs. Even amid the sport’s evolution over the past 90 years, Pop Warner’s mission has remained the same: to shape well-rounded student athletes who excel on the field and in the classroom.

Pop Warner has worked with millions of young athletes during the past 90 years and has always worked hard to invest in their long-term success. As part of its dedication to academic performance, each year Pop Warner recognizes thousands of All-American Scholars who earn a 96% GPA or higher. As part of that recognition, the organization and its sponsors provide approximately $100,000 in annual college scholarships.

“Pop Warner has demonstrated a genuine passion for helping young people grow through the game of football,” said National Council of Youth Sports Executive Director Wayne B. Moss.  “The organization has been in the forefront of providing best practices and policies that help lead to the success of young athletes both on and off the playing field.”  

Pop Warner also has led the way in instituting important player safety measures in an effort to make the game safer and better. The highlights include:

  • Becoming the first national youth sports organization to implement a concussion rule that requires players suspected of suffering a head injury to receive written clearance by a medical professional certified in concussion evaluation and management before returning to play.
  • Officially endorsing USA Football’s American Development Model, which establishes a game pathway from Flag to Rookie Tackle to 11-player Tackle, and advances player and coach development
  • Becoming the first national football organization to eliminate kickoffs for its three youngest divisions
  • Contact is allowed during no more than 25 percent of practice time.
  • All coaches must be certified by USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, which teaches safer approaches to tackling and blocking.
  • Banning full-speed head-on, blocking or tackling drills where players line up more than 3 yards apart.
  • Forming an independent Medical Advisory Committee to ensure that Pop Warner stays on the forefront of all health and safety issues, and any medical developments that may affect its young athletes. Led by neurosurgeons, researchers, pediatricians and sports medicine professionals, the committee is focused on the prevention, proper identification and treatment of concussions; hydration awareness and proper nutrition guidelines; and general health and safety issues.
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