Pop Warner leagues changing rules over concussion fears

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Rich Lanan's son convinced him to let him sign up for football this year.

"Worried about the stray kid coming across the field and slamming into him," said Lanan, of Boca Raton. "It's a little scary."

Boca Pop Warner commissioner Tim Allen sees the new generation of football players and can only laugh at the old rule of thumb.

"If you were awake, you were out there playing," said Allen.

This year, Pop Warner's central office in Pennsylvania is demanding that coaches limit contact drills to a third of practice and that players get head starts of no more than three yards before a hit.

"(If) someone('s health) is in any question, we're taking them out and letting the doctor tell us," said Allen.

"Even one concussion has been shown to increase the risk of Alzheimers," said Dr. Joshua Kouri.

Wellington Medical Center brain surgeon Joshua Kouri says Pop Warner's rules are a good start in protecting youngsters whose brains are still developing.

More importantly he says is that Pop Warner keep close track of injuries.

"Its never really been quantified before," said Kouri.

Most parents at the practice field today told us they had little experience with concussions and that they didn't want any.

"He's just getting to the age when things are getting rough. I think this is when it's going to start," said parent Leslie Allen.

Pop Warner officials in Pennsylvania say it will be difficult to know whether their policies are working right away, because they only know of the concussions reported through its own insurance company.

It'll fall to local leagues like Boca Raton Pop Warner to keep track of the new policy.

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