Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti urged parents not to let their children play football until high school, reports Time's Sean Gregory.
Buoniconti, 75, made the comments at a Concussion Legacy Foundation that advocated for youth flag football.
“I beg all parents to please don’t let your children play football until high school,” Buoniconti said, according to Sean Gregory of TIME.
Buoniconti, who won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins, is dealing with the effects football has had on his mind and body and was diagnosed with dementia last year. His struggles with debilitating pain, memory loss and mood instability were documented in a Sports Illustrated piece that ran in May.
The news comes on the same day as the release of a Boston University study that linked subconcussive hits with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease. The study provided scientific evidence to the hypothesis that even hits that do not lead to a concussion or concussion-like symptoms—dizziness, disorientation, memory loss, etc.—can cause serious long-term harm.
The study shined light on the risk children assume by participating in contact sports at such a young age, and it also highlighted the inadequacy of the NFL's current concussion protocol, which focuses on symptoms.