“Tackle Can Wait” (Concussion Legacy Foundation, Fingerpaint)
Fingerpaint partnered with the Concussion Legacy Foundation to take on a challenge with a tough defense: Letting Americans know that tackle football was much more dangerous for kids than they realized. While we all know the dangers of concussions resulting from repeated hits in contact sports, many don’t know that the brain suffers during every hit, even when a concussion doesn’t occur. These repetitive hits add up to long-term risk for the debilitating, deadly brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Fingerpaint set out to make people aware of the shocking study published in Annals of Neurology that found a strong correlation between starting tackle football at a young age and the development of CTE—a stronger correlation, in fact, than that between smoking and developing lung cancer over time. The ultimate goal was to keep kids from playing tackle football until the age of 14.
In the attention-grabbing “Tackle Can Wait” campaign, TV commercials showed child football players puffing away on cigarettes from their parents and coaches. The scene is absurd. We wouldn’t let kids smoke, so why would we let them do something as dangerous as tackle football before age 14?
The campaign was a juggernaut. It was covered extensively in print, television, online, parenting blogs, and news media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. But perhaps most importantly, several state legislatures are now debating proposals that would regulate tackle football before the age of 14.