RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Despite a major change from the largest youth football organization in the country, Richmond's youth football league will not alter the amount of contact its players can have in practice.
This week Pop Warner announced it was changing its rules to help curb concussions. It was banning head to head hits, but also cutting down the amount of contact a team can have in practice to 40 minutes.
The Metro Youth Football League includes 40 associations from King William to Goochland, that includes over 4,000 athletes from the Richmond area. The MYFL commissioner, Thomas Manley, says there will be no restrictions to contact in practice. Manley says that when games are an hour to 75 minutes, that you can't have contact in practice be that short. This could actually lead to more injuries.
Manley says the MYFL has totally changed its concussion policies since he took over three years ago. Now, an athlete that is believed to have suffered a concussion must be cleared and released by a physician before he can get on the field again. Also, coaches that have not abided by the rules can be fined and suspended.
In addition, the helmets go through a strict checkup process, to make sure that all of the associations are using the safest ones possible.
Manley adds that the age group that has the most concussions tends to be the youngest group (7 and 8 year olds) that use flags, don't tackle and don't wear helmets. Manley says he's investigating if there are more safety precautions the league can take in that age group.