The Five Million Dollar Youth Football Lawsuit


Pop Warner Logo
Pop Warner Logo

Lawsuits are never anything to be taken lightly especially when it involves injury and a child. But this lawsuit is a bit different as it involves the game of football and youth sport giant Pop Warner, the king of youth football. Pop Warner, a non-profit organization that started in 1929, has stayed out of the spotlight for the most part, but now a five million dollar lawsuit might put a damper on the organization’s reputation.

The mystery woman behind the five million dollar suit is Debra Pyka of Wisconsin, whose son committed?suicide in 2012, at the age of 25. Pyka claims that her son’s suicide is a direct result of head trauma and the resultant dementia?caused by?injuries sustained during his time playing football. Her son Joseph Chernach was just a young boy of 12 when he played Pop Warner football between the years of 1997-2000. Now Pyka is seeking a $5 million-plus punitive damage lawsuit against Pop Warner.

While the money may just be a number, the true matter at hand is that for many young kids football is just a game that they love and injuries such as concussions are an after thought. But these post football injuries have become real in the case of so many as the damage has already been done.

Football is a game that is enjoyed by so many people in the United States. It’s a game with brutal hits and amazing moments that never disappoint. In recent years the game has gotten a bad reputation for its inherent dark side of grueling injuries. As is the case with Pyka, and one reason why she is suing the Pop Warner organization. However,?this case is not a surprise as lawsuits have begun piling up for NFL and other football associations.

The effect of this story?is more closely felt by parents around the United States that have a child that played football, because it could have been them. What is most startling?are the numbers behind the incident. In fact, Boston University researchers found that?children who?played tackle football before the age of 12 experienced far greater declines in memory and cognitive function compared to peers that entered the game during their teen years.

Another thing that looms within the’scope of youth sports is amateurism.?Because youth sports?are?under-funded or not funded at all, many of the coaches are a parent of one of the team members. Many of these parents may have little to no training in first aid or other medical-related fields. The fault isn’t with the act of not caring, but?rather it is with the inability to diagnose the serious injury because many of these coaches don’t have the proper training.??While the lawsuit is only one of many within the sports industry. I think this one will start the fire to implement proper training and funding within youth sports.


Tanner Bisbee hails from the great State of Maine. He's a full time college student and serves on the football staff at school. His most notable work to date is his book Modern Day Sports Blog. To read more check out my blog