By Maria Medina

SAN MATEO (KPIX) — A new PSA by the Concussion Legacy Foundation wants parents of young athletes to keep kids away from tackle football until they’re age 14 to reduce the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

“Tackle football is like smoking, the younger I start, the longer I’m exposed to danger,” a child says in the PSA.

Robin Latta, whose son was the quarterback at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, said she agrees with the PSA’s message.

Her son, she said, suffered a scare on the field.

“It was a concussion scare so he was taken out,” she said. “It was a little scary.”

Luckily, tests showed her son, JP Lyssenko, did not suffer a concussion. He went on to play for four years in high school and now plays in college.

“You hear about all these football players that are now in their 50s or 60s and are now suffering,” Latta said.

The new PSA’s release coincides with a new study by the Annals of Neurology Study that found the severity of CTE isn’t related to the number of concussions but the number of years spent playing football.

So why age 14?

Research shows that kids with brain injuries before 12-years-old recover more slowly.

There is no cure for CTE. A 2017 CTE Center study found the disease in 99% of brains of deceased players.

“I actually would probably agree with that, I mean, there’s plent of things for them to do before fourteen,” Latta said.

Her son started playing when he was a freshman. She said they knew the risks, but also the pros that came with the game.

“I really have a love and a strong feeling for high school athletics,” said Latta. “I think that it keeps students busy it keeps them on track.”

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