AUSTIN, Texas - The line of scrimmage is set to look at little different this year in Pop Warner football.
- Pop Warner football eliminating three-point stance
- Designed to reduce helmet-to-helmet contact
- Rule to take effect in September
After consulting with the medical advisory committee, the organization made the decision to nationally ban the traditional three-point stance.
“They made the decision to be able to provide a safer, more enjoyable environment for our players," says Janan Miller, president of Hill Country Pop Warner.
It’s just for athletes 10 years of age and younger, players who, for the most part might not be physically developed enough for the three-point stance. It's part of an effort to legislate out unneeded helmet-to-helmet contact at an early age.
Dr. Kate Labiner with Child Neurology Consultants believes this is a necessary step to make the game safer for athletes who are still in their developmental stage.
"Those small hits that happen over and over that do not necessarily cause one big, obvious injury, are the ones that long term we are more worried about," Labiner said.
Instead, players in the younger divisions will line up in the two-point stance, a squat position with their hands on their legs. It is a proactive step by the organization to do what it can to make the game safer amidst all the question marks about CTE and its link to head injuries from football.
Hill country Pop Warner says the feedback from coaches has been mixed, but come September the rules will be the rules.
"This decision took into consideration the medical aspect of it, the development of the game of football, and the future of football," Miller said.
Pop Warner will also eliminate the kickoff in its Pee Wee (9- to 11-year-old) division. The kickoff was banned in the three youngest divisions in 2016.