In a new PSA, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Brett Favre urges parents to not let children under 14 to play tackle football.
In the PSA, which is in partnership with the Concussion Legacy Foundation, the Hall of Famer explained that children should play flag football to reduce the risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
According to the Mayo Clinic, CTE is a progressive brain condition likely caused by repeated head traumas.
The PSA explains that the odds of developing CTE doubles every additional three years they play tackle football.
“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, Ph.D., Concussion Legacy Foundation co-founder and CEO, a former All-Ivy League defensive tackle at Harvard University, in a press release. “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.”
According to the foundation, research from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Boston University – Concussion Legacy Foundation Brain Bank found that out of 65 high school football players – who never played in college or professionally – 16 of them have CTE.
The experts added that 15 of those 16 players began playing tackle football before they were 14, the foundation said.
In a 2019 Brain Bank study of 266 deceased football players, experts found that the odds of players developing CTE may increase by 30% per year they play tackle football.
"Having kids play tackle football before high school is just not worth the risk,” said Favre, who played 19 seasons in the NFL in the PSA. “CTE is a terrible disease, and we need to do everything we can to prevent it for the next generation of football players.”