Enrollment in Pop Warner football, the country’s biggest youth football program, has fallen. The league has lost more than 23,000 players since 2010.
One factor in the downturn has been concern by parents about children getting concussions — mirroring a growing concern in the NFL. Pop Warner allows children who are as young as five, to play tackle football, even though too much is still unknown about the effects of concussions on growing skulls. Should that policy be reconsidered? Pop Warner coach Gerald Gaskins, whose own son began playing football at age 5, weighed in on NewsOne Now with Roland Martin.
It’s fine for children that young to play, as long as they’re in an environment with proper training, and their parents remain watchful and involved, said Gaskins. “As a parent, I’m going to do my due diligence to make sure whatever organization my child is playing for, they’re properly trained, and I’m familiar with what’s going on.” Gaskins said. “As a parent you always want to know, is my child safe?”