Green Bay + Minnesota QB Brett Favre: Kids Under 14 Shouldn’t Play Tackle Football
With the rise in concussions and CTE in adult football players, there have been rumblings about how safe tackle football is for kids. On Tuesday, one of the most respected players in the history of the National Football League let his stance be known, while also releasing a video on the subject.
Hall Of Fame Quarterback Brett Favre went on record saying he firmly believes that no kids should play tackle football until they're at least 14 years old. This is in support of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, who's goal is to prevent concussions and CTE.
CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy and it's a progressive brain condition that's thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion. Players who participate in sports such as American football and other contact sports are at high risk of developing the disease.
Favre stresses that it's simply not worth the risk to have young kids start trying to tackle each other. I completely understand where he and others are coming from. Personally, I've seen young kids play tackle football over the years and not only is the equipment often not properly fitted, but proper tackling technique isn't consistently taught across every program. Both factors add injury risk to the kids.
I also know from having coached flag football that it can be very competitive and the kids enjoy it. Furthermore, they're still learning the game. They're learning to catch, throw and kick while also learning offensive and defensive schemes. What they're not doing is lowering their head and necks into one another, which can lead to trouble.
In regard to that, here's a great PSA with Brett Favre that was just released on August 17.
The bottom line is kids will have fun and learn either way. The biggest push for tackle football for younger kids seems to come disproportionately from the parents, who may be favoring their own competitive spirit over the wishes and safety of their kids. To me, waiting until kids are 14 is just fine, especially when not doing so could prove to be dangerous.