World horrified as kids’ footy crash clip goes viral
American youth football organisation Pop Warner is investigating a video that went viral on social media this week, showing a helmet-to-helmet collision during a practice drill that left one youngster laid out on the turf, according to a report.
"We are deeply disturbed by this video and are investigating. If, in fact, it was Pop Warner coaches leading these drills, we will take action," Pop Warner spokesperson Brian Heffron told Fox News.
"What we saw was dangerous and, frankly, offensive to the overwhelming majority of our coaches who teach the sport the right way. We expect every coach to adhere to mandated training and focus on the proper, safe progressions of tackling techniques, including practice against dummies, particularly at such a young age.
"Over the past 10 years Pop Warner has instituted a number of player safety rules, and this example runs counter to our practices."
The original video has more than 6.6 million views on Twitter and was published by user @zeekncashe with the comment: "Are they too young to be doing this drill?"
USA Football - the sport's national governing body - certainly thinks so.
"This is against everything that we in football stand for and has no place in our game - it is an affront to the millions of mums and dads who coach youth football with the greatest care for their kids," a USA Football spokesman told Fox News."
"USA Football's Recommendations for Youth Play, endorsed by national sports medicine leaders, strongly prohibits what was seen here. Since 2012, more than 700,000 youth coach certifications have been completed through USA Football. This video distorts how today's youth football should be taught and played, which is safer and smarter than at any time in its 90-plus year history."
The video sparked outrage among former NFL players - many of whom are fathers - toward the unknown coaches.
The connection between head injuries suffered in football and degenerative brain conditions such as CTE sparked an $AUD1.3 billion lawsuit settlement by the NFL for retired players in 2016 and revolutionised rules and practice methods at all levels.
Angry NFL stars react with horror
Former Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder wrote on Twitter, "This is child abuse. I know dozens of all pro/hall of fame players that didn't play til they were 10+ years old. You aren't helping your kids. Whatever coach set up this drill for these babies needs to be fired and I would like to do this drill against him on his way out."
Former New York Jets centre Damien Woody wrote: "This is absolutely ridiculous by the coach."
Former New York Giants offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz added: "This isn't funny at all. This culture at the youth level needs to change."
Ex-Philadelphia Eagles receiver Torrey Smith tweeted: "Attention all parents! If your kid is doing this drill. Take your child off the field and don't go back to those stupid coaches. Coaches like this aren't safe and ruin the image of football."
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison - who was suspended for one game and fined $160,000 for a hit on defenceless quarterback Colt McCoy during a 2011 game - used two angry face emojis and wrote: "This right here is EXACTLY why I wouldn't let my boys play tackle until I was done playing - so I could be there to make sure they were being taught the right way.
"Where's the standards & regulations for who's 'coaching' our young kids. This is a set-up from the start, they knew damn well what was about to happen!"
This story first appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as World horrified as kids' clip goes viral