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Favre Says Kids Shouldn’t Play Tackle Football Until Age 14

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Legendary football quarterback Brett Favre advised parents to keep children from playing tackle football until they’re old enough. He said that before the age of 14, children are at risk of developing injuries that will be difficult to come out of. 

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Brett Favre, Hall of Fame Player

Favre, a National Football League superstar during his heyday, played quarterback for a total of 20 seasons with the league. The legendary quarterback holds the NFL record for starting the most number of consecutive games with 297 regular-season games.

He was also the first NFL quarterback to amass 70,000 yards, 10,000 passes, 6,000 completions, 500 touchdowns, and 200 wins. In addition, he also holds the distinction of being the first QB to register wins overall 32 NFL teams. Favre joined the NFL Hall of Fame in 2016. 

After hanging up his helmet, Favre now partners with the Concussion Legacy Foundation. The CLF aims to help protect children from experiencing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a head injury that can eventually cause major damage to players down the road as they age. In his twenty-plus years in the NFL, Favre said he probably had thousands of concussions.  

Concussion Legacy Foundation

The CFL advocates that children should avoid playing tackle football before the age of 14. Specifically, CTE is a neurodegenerative disease that many attributes to repeated hits to the head over the years. According to the CLF, a kid’s odds of developing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) doubles every three years of additional playing tackle football. 

The discovery of CTE helped change the game of football. Both college and professional leagues instituted rule changes that minimize the chances of injuries to the head.

Now, players that target the head of opposing players will receive penalties or outright ejections from games. In addition, the NFL instituted rules for players to keep their helmets on after a tackle, instead of removing them immediately.  

Not Worth The Risk

Meanwhile, Favre says getting injured playing tackle football even before reaching high school doesn’t make sense. “Having kids play before high school is just not worth the risk. CTE is a terrible disease, and we need to do everything we can to prevent it for the next generation of football players,” he added.

When asked how he feels after decades of getting hit on the head, Favre said he’s grateful he didn’t get it as bad as the others. “I don’t know what normal feels like. Do I have CTE or early-onset?

I really don’t know, but I can’t complain. I’m able to do and function as I please for the most part,” he said. “Concussions are a very, very serious thing. And we’re just scraping the service of how severe they are and what are the repercussions,” he said.

In a 2018 interview, Favre described the effects of hits throughout his playing career. “I feel as though I’m lucky, to this point, but … I find that my short-term memory, someone I met six months ago, has gotten a lot worse. Simple words that would normally come out easy in a conversation, I’ll stammer,” he observed. 

Favre Won’t Encourage His Grandkids To Play 

While Favre doesn’t have kids, he has three grandsons. When asked what he would say to them about waiting until they’re 14 to play, he said he’s fearful. “Well, they’re 11, 7, and 4, and have not mentioned playing football at all. I am not going to mention it as well. If they choose to play, I will support them, but I am not going to encourage them in any way to play. I’m just fearful of what concussions can do. And it only takes one … It’s just too risky,” he said.  

“Concussions are going to happen. Whether it be the playground, in the car, elderly falling, sports. All sports have concussions. So, I’m not going to encourage them to play until there’s a treatment.

Right now it’s all prevention and as we know, you can only do so much and concussions are going to happen.” he added. 

Watch the CBS46 Atlanta video reporting that football legend Brett Favre warns against tackle football at a young age:

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