A group of former NFL players has partnered with the Concussion Legacy Foundation to encourage parents to only allow their kids to play flag football.
According to a news release issued Thursday, the foundation has launched a 14U flag football program to educate parents on the potential risks of allowing children to play tackle football at young ages. It encourages children to avoid tackle football until high school.
The program was established as a result of a study published by Brain that found head impacts, even without concussion, can lead to CTE.
CLF has teamed up with Pro Football Hall of Famers Nick Buoniconti and Harry Carson, who advocate the foundation's cause.
Buoniconti said in a news release that he "made a mistake starting tackle football at 9 years old." He's been diagnosed with possible CTE and suffers from dementia.
“To parents who want their children to experience football, they should not play tackle football until 14,” Carson also said in a news release. “I did not play tackle football until high school, and I will not allow my grandson to play until 14, as I believe it is not an appropriate sport for young children.”
CLF has also created an all-time greats team honoring NFL players who have succeeded without playing tackle football before high school.
The team includes former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown and corner Hanford Dixon, as well as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. See CFL's full all-time greats team here.
A study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association found CTE diagnoses in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were donated for research. The study also found CTE diagnoses in 87 percent of 202 former football players, including high school, college, NFL, CFL and semipro. The study was led by researchers at Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System.