Brett Favre: Keep kids out of tackle football until age 14

Syndication: Milwaukee
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel files, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Legendary NFL quarterback Brett Favre is urging parents to keep their children out of tackle football until high school because of the risks of CTE.

A public-service announcement starring Favre on behalf of the Concussion Legacy Foundation was released Tuesday.

It shows a young boy, wearing a green jersey with Favre’s No. 4, telling his parents what he learned about CTE and telling them not to let him play tackle football until he is 14. Through the course of the minute-long ad, the boy grows to a high school senior discussing how he could have already developed CTE, and ends with him morphing into Favre discussing how adults with CTE could have symptoms including depression, memory lapse and anger.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by repeated traumatic brain injuries. It can’t be diagnosed until after death. Ken Stabler, like Favre a Hall of Fame quarterback, is among the many players to have been diagnosed with CTE after his death.

Favre, 51, appeared Tuesday on “Today” to discuss the ad, as well as how he feels after 20 seasons in the NFL, most notably with the Green Bay Packers.

“I don’t know what normal feels like. Do I have CTE? I really don’t know,” Favre said. “Concussions are a very, very serious thing and we’re just scraping the surface of how severe they are.”

Favre is the father of two daughters and the grandfather of three boys, ages 11, 7 and 4. He said they haven’t expressed a desire to play football and he won’t push them to follow in his footsteps.

“If they choose to play, I will support them, but I’m not going to encourage them in any way to play,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report this year that said kids were 15 times more likely to sustain “head impact” if they took part in tackle sports, and encouraged non-contact and flag football programs until age 14.

Favre won three league Most Valuable Player awards and was selected to 11 Pro Bowls during his career (1991-2000) with the Packers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.

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–Field Level Media