PSA says youth tackle football is just as bad as smoking

PSA says youth tackle football is just as bad as smoking

The Concussion Legacy Foundation released a particularly unnerving public service announcement on Thursday and it has since gone viral.

The video shows two opposing teams of young boys playing football, which then cuts to a scene of the underage players puffing on cigarettes. One of the boys even has his cigarette lit by his mother, who seems more than happy to do so.

Check out the shocking PSA here:

The obvious message behind the PSA is that tackle football is comparable to smoking as both do more damage the earlier children start. Children who start playing the contact sport at the age of age five compared to the more ''reasonable'' age of 14 are "10 times more likely" to develop the brain condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the Concussion Legacy Foundation states in the video.

"Tackle football is like smoking," a preteen voice-over says in order to hit home the powerful message. "The younger I start, the longer I'm exposed to danger."

Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Chris Nowinski told CNN that the bodies of preteens are not developed enough to withstand the aggressive impact to the head that occurs in tackle football.

"They can choose not to play tackle football at all," he said. "But if you do, the best way to manage risk and reward is to wait until 14."

Naturally, people had plenty to say about the eye-opening video on Twitter:

This idea that it is best to wait until a child is over the age of 14 before introducing them to the potentially dangerous sport is backed by numerous studies.

One study, for instance, shows that children who sustain brain injuries before age 12 tend to recover at a slower pace.

Another study in the Annals of Neurology found that it was the number of years spent playing football as opposed to the number of concussions which led to severe cases of CTE.

The researchers found, after studying the brains of 266 deceased American football players, that the risk of CTE doubles for every 2.6 years spent playing the game.