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PSA compares youth tackle football to smoking cigarettes

October 14, 2019 / FootballSports Medicine & Nutrition
The Concussion Legacy Foundation last week unveiled its “Tackle Can Wait” PSA, comparing the dangers of youth tackle football to smoking cigarettes.

The Boston-based organization hopes to change how we handle and understand concussions in sports. One of its goals is to have kids under the age of 14 play flag football instead of a contact game.

In the 30-second video below, kids are smoking cigarettes as the narrator says, “Tackle football is a lot like smoking. The younger I start, the more I’m exposed to danger.”

The video received pushback on social media, with some commenters asking why sports like soccer aren’t singled out. Others took issue with the comparison to nicotine.

“More scare tactics from a Big Brother do-gooder group,” one commenter said. “Smoking is legal and a matter of choice. No one doubts it’s risky, but it’s nobody’s business but the smoker.

“Football, like everything else, can be dangerous. Parents know this and they are fully capable of deciding if their child can participate. They don’t need lectures from outside organizations with an agenda.

“But, there is no connection between the two and PSA’s that try to link them are dishonest and deceptive.”

Football sees more concussions than other sports, but it’s also the nation’s most played sport at the high school level. Organizations like USA Football have launched new initiatives that teach safe tackling, and it also created the Football Development Model to encourage youth leagues to build players toward the tackle game by teaching proper skills and techniques.

Learn more about the Concussion Legacy Foundation.


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The CLF’s announcement is irresponsible. Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity place way more children at risk of developing a chronic disease and premature death than playing tackle football under the age of fourteen. I challenge the CLF to provide scientific data informing the public exactly what percentage of children who played tackle football prior to the age of fourteen (and never beyond the high school level) have died from CTE related brain disease. Many parents are providing their elementary school age children with cell phones and other digital devices. These devices expose children to cyber bullying, online predators,… Read more »