America's youth football association has launched an investigation into a disturbing viral video showing two children in a heavy helmet-to-helmet collision during a training drill.
The video went viral on social media this week, showing the player with the ball lowering his helmet into the defender and sending him flying in sickening fashion.
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Someone can be heard in the background telling the defender "you're good" as he lies in pain on the ground.
The clip has been widely condemned among social media users and former NFL players, and an investigation is now underway.
"We are deeply disturbed by this video and are investigating," a spokesperson for youth football association Pop Warner told Fox News.
"If, in fact, it was Pop Warner coaches leading these drills, we will take action."
“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 NFL and NCAA have taken steps in recent years to penalise players for lowering their head to initiate contact.
That head lowering is incredibly dangerous and can lead to head and neck injuries.
USA Football slams disturbing footage
USA Football has also condemned the footage.
“This is against everything that we in football stand for and has no place in our game," a spokesperson said.
"It is an affront to the millions of mums and dads who coach youth football with the greatest care for their kids.
“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.”
Former Miami Dolphins star 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 Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison 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!”
Former New York Jets player Damien Woody wrote: “This is absolutely ridiculous by the coach", while former New York Giants player Geoff Schwartz said: “This isn’t funny at all. This culture at the youth level needs to change.”
Former 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.”
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