NFL legend Brett Favre is known for making 297 consecutive starts during his Hall of Fame career, battling countless injuries throughout the 19-year streak. Now, the Mississippi native is urging parents to keep their kids out of tackle football until at least the age of 14 to lessen the risk of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
In a new PSA for the Concussion Legacy Foundation, Favre explains that the earlier a child begins playing tackle football, the more likely it is that they may develop the disease linked to repeated hits the head and can lead to depression, memory loss and violent behavior.
Favre has openly shared his concern about his own future after suffering numerous head injuries during his playing career and says that he will not encourage his three grandsons to play football.
According to data shared by the foundation, studies show that a high school football player who started tackle football at the age of 5, instead of age 14, might have 10x the odds of developing CTE.
“A football player’s odds of developing CTE may be most determined by their parents, specifically what age the child is allowed to start playing tackle football,” said Chris Nowinski, PhD, Concussion Legacy Foundation co-founder and CEO, a former All-Ivy League defensive tackle at Harvard University. “It’s time to accept that CTE is not just a risk for professional and college football players, but also for high school players, and the best way to prevent CTE among football players is to delay the introduction of tackle football to reduce the number of years played.”
The PSA encourages parents to have their child play flag football until age 14 to reduce the risk of head injuries, including concussions, at a young age. CDC data shows that a “typical youth player” in flag football will receive about 8 head impacts a year, while in tackle they will receive 378.
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