Medical Advisory Committee

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Helmet FittingIn 2010, Pop Warner Little Scholars formed the Pop Warner Medical Advisory Committee to ensure Pop Warner remains proactive on all medical issues that affect youth sports, particularly football and cheerleading.

The Pop Warner Medical Advisory Committee is focused on prevention and proper identification and treatment of concussions, hydration awareness, proper nutrition guidelines, and general health and safety issues.

The Pop Warner Advisory Committee meets annually to discuss new research, advise on policy and rule changes and provide expert advice to the Pop Warner organization to benefit the health & safety of our members.

The Pop Warner Medical Advisory Committee is led by physicians with expertise in neuromedicine and sports safety and includes:

  • Julian Bailes (CHAIRMAN), MD, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Co-Director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute.
  • Michael Bergeron, Ph.D., FACSM is the Executive Director, Youth Sports of the Americas.
  • R. Dawn Comstock, MD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health.
  • Arthur Day, MD, professor of surgery and vice chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Texas.
  • Stefan Duma, Ph.D., Harry C. Wyatt Professor and Department Head, Virginia Tech - Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.
  • Stan Herring, MD, Seattle Seahawks Neurosurgeon and Medical Director of spine care at the University of Washington.
  • Barry Jordan, MD, Assistant Medical Director, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital.
  • Cynthia LaBella, MD, Medical director, Institute for Sports Medicine, Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago.
  • Lawrence Lemak, MD, founder of Lemak Sports Medicine, The Alabama Sports Foundation and the National Center for Sports Safety, and medical advisor for USA Football.
  • Michael D. Lewis, MD, MPH, MBA, FACPM, is the Founder and President of the Brain Health Education and Research Institute.
  • Tony L. Strickland, M.S., Ph.D., founder and Chairman of the Sports Concussion Institute, and Program Director of the Memory Disorders and Concussion Management Clinics.

Pop Warner instituted a dedicated concussion rule in 2010. The concussion rule echoes the NFL and USA Football’s concussion safety and awareness principles, including “when in doubt, sit them out.”

In alignment with the Lystedt Law in Washington State, the rule specifically maintains that the return to play decision must be made by a licensed medical official, as opposed to a parent or coach. Any participant removed from practice, play or competition due to a head injury or suspected concussion may only return to the field once he or she has received written clearance from a licensed medical professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.