Pop Warner Makes Changes for Safety

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The world's largest youth sports program is toughening up on safety measures during football practice. It's a move that affects the leagues in the Kansas City area.

Pop Warner announced it will tighten safety measures. The organization says it will limit contact drills to one-third of practice time. It will also ban full-speed, head-on blocking and tackling drills in which players line up more than three yards apart.

"They're the experts and what they said today, was exactly right," said Dale Bowen with Heart of America Pop Warner. "And it's nothing new for our league. We're already teaching, get the head out-of-the-way, hit with your shoulder pads, and look and what you're hitting, and this is just going to emphasize it."

Jim Tuso from a different youth football organization says this move will prove challenging.

"My biggest fear though is how do you teach young kids to do something without practicing it?" Tuso said. "And you know, we can make it work definitely but I think that's the big resistance you're going to get out of youth football coaches."

Tuso says if some coaches are already coaching this way and injuries are still happening, then perhaps leagues need to look at gear.

"You have to account for the money that these youth teams have and a lot of them don't have any money, so they buy inferior helmets they buy the cheap ones," Tuso said.

The rule change will start with the 2012 season. Metro Pop Warner leagues start practicing in August.

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