Program urges parents to wait until kids are 14 for tackle football

The Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) has announced the launch of its flag football under-14 program, developed to educate parents on the benefits of waiting to enroll their children in tackle football leagues until they are 14 years old.

“This education program for parents is inspired by the last decade of research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has revealed that the best way to prevent CTE in football players is to delay enrolling in tackle football until 14,” Robert Cantu, MD, medical director of the CLF, said in a prepared statement.

Among the group’s supporters are National Football League Hall of Famers Nick Buoniconti and Harry Carson and former Oakland Raiders player Phil Villapiano.

“I made a mistake starting tackle football at 9 years old,” said Buoniconti, who suffers from dementia and has been diagnosed with probable CTE. “Now, CTE has taken my life away. Youth tackle football is all risk with no reward.”