Family Sues Pop Warner Youth Football League for $5 Million

Debra Pyka says the league is to blame for her 11-year-old son's death.
2:05 | 02/07/15

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Transcript for Family Sues Pop Warner Youth Football League for $5 Million
It is part of so many American childhoods. Nearly a quarter million children suit up for pop Warner every year, but now, one Wisconsin family is suing the largest youth football league in the country, saying it's too dangerous for kids and is the reason their son is not alive tonight. Here's ABC's Linzie Janis. This is the pop Warner picture. Joseph is on the left. Reporter: From the time he was 11 years old, Joseph chernach loved playing football. But his mother is now suing the youth football league pop Warner for $5 million, saying the repeated trauma to her son's brain resulted in his suicide at 25. I just couldn't understand why a happy kid turned into someone so depressed. Reporter: In her lawsuit, pyka alleges pop Warner football disregarded the plaintiff's right to safety. Pop Warner allows children who still have to sit in the backseat in a carseat to play tackle football with helmets. That is the problem. Reporter: Knowledge about the dangers of youth football has evolved. A recent Boston university study found that former NFL players who played tackle football before the age of 12 are more likely to have serious brain damage. Pop Warner says they have made rule changes to make the game safer, but in a statement, says, "We question the merits of singling out four years of youth football amid a career of sports that lasted through high school." Even if this mother was able to demonstrate that football was the cause of the injury, that doesn't mean she wins a lawsuit. You still have to prove that they knew or should have known how dangerous football is. And I think that's just incredibly unlikely. Reporter: Pyka says she hopes her lawsuit will make other parents think twice about letting their kids play football. Linzie Janis, ABC news, new York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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