Pop Warner Little Scholars

Pop Warner Little Scholars, commonly known simply as Pop Warner, is a nonprofit organization that provides activities such as American football, for over 425,000 youths aged 5 to 16 years old, in several nations. It is the largest youth football organization in the United States.[2] In the 2010s, concern grew about the dangers of brain injury, including that from a steady diet of sub-concussive hits.[3][4] There have been proposals to replace tackle football with flag football below certain ages.[5]

Pop Warner Little Scholars
Official logo of Pop Warner Little Scholars
Named afterPop Warner
Formation1929 (1929)
FounderJoseph J. Tomlin[1]
HeadquartersLanghorne, Pennsylvania
United States
WebsiteOfficial website

Its headquarters are in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Pop Warner Little Scholars is named after football coach Pop Warner, who heavily contributed to the organization in its early years.

Age and weight divisions

DivisionAge requirementsWeight requirementsEnd-of-season max
Tiny-Mite5, 6, 735–75 lbs79 lbs.
Mitey-Mite7, 8, 945–100 lbs104 lbs.
Jr. Pee Wee8, 9, 10, (11)60–115 lbs (60–95 lbs)119 lbs. (99 lbs)
Pee Wee9, 10, 11, (12)75–130 lbs (75–110 lbs)134 lbs. (114 lbs)
Junior Varsity10, 11, 12, (13)90–155 lbs (90–135 lbs)159 lbs.
Varsity12, 13, 14, (15)105–180 lbs (105–160 lbs)184 lbs. (164 lbs)
Unlimited11, 12, 13, 14105+ lbsUnlimited

The ages in parenthesis in each division allow "older but lighter" players to also qualify.[6]

Safety and brain health

In the 2010s, there has been much controversy about football and brain health, with a number of studies focusing not just on the occasional concussion, but also on the large number of sub-concussive hits. One game in particular in 2012 resulted in five concussions.[7] In 2015, a family sued Pop Warner over the suicide of a former player who was later found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), claiming that the organization knew or should have known about the risk of head injuries.[8] Several other lawsuits have been filed against Pop Warner for related cases.[9][10]

In 2016, the Pop Warner league banned kickoffs in an attempt to reduce high-speed collisions that result in concussions.[2]

A 2018 study found that tackle football before age 12 was correlated with earlier onset of symptoms of CTE, but not with symptom severity.[3][11][4] There have also been advocates for flag football only before certain ages.[12][5]


  1. "Pop Warner Football".
  2. Belson, Ken (May 12, 2016). "Pop Warner Bans Kickoffs in Hopes of Protecting Its Youngest Players". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  3. "Study finds youth football tied to earlier symptoms of CTE," ESPN, April 30, 2018.
  4. Age of First Exposure to Tackle Football and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Annals of Neurology, Michael L. Alosco PhD, Jesse Mez MD, MS, et al., 30 April 2018.
  5. Former NFLers call for end to tackle football for kids, CNN, Nadia Kounang, updated March 1, 2018.
  6. "Ages & Weights". Pop Warner Little Scholars. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  7. Belson, Ken (October 23, 2012). "A 5-Concussion Pee Wee Game Leads to Penalties for the Adults". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  8. Belson, Ken (February 5, 2015). "Family Sues Pop Warner Over Suicide of Player Who Had Brain Disease". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  9. McCann, Michael; Murphy, Austin (September 1, 2016). "New lawsuit points finger at Pop Warner for mismanagement of head injuries". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  10. Leonard, Tod (January 28, 2018). "Moms take on football, suing Pop Warner for their sons' head trauma, deaths". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  11. Parents, put off tackle football as long as possible, study suggests, Austin American-Statesman, Nicole Villalpando, May 25, 2018.
  12. Shea Jr., Michael M. (June 22, 2018). "Opinion: Block kids under 12 from playing tackle football". The Mercury News. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
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