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Warren Sapp says he wants to shut down youth football

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The Bucs great is really concerned about the effects of football on the brain.

Warren Sapp is on a mission to fight the damaging effects of football on players’ brains. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle has started to notice gaps in his memory, and wants to put it on the agenda more than it is now. Sapp first talked about that for The Players’ Tribune, saying he’ll donate his brain to concussion research after his death.

Yesterday, Sapp called into the Rich Eisen Show to discuss the effects of football on the brain and his concerns with Rich Eisen and Marshall Faulk. Most of what he says is fairly uncontroversial now: we know football affects the brain adversely, and we know that players are really struggling with those issues. The NFL isn’t doing enough to stop that and fix the game, and there needs to be more research both into the exact causes, and ways to mitigate the damage football inflicts on human brains.

Sapp’s most controversial stance: he wants to end youth football, specifically for kids 13 and under. This feels like a pretty obvious suggestion to me, what with young kids’ brain development and all. Marshall Faulk notes he wants kids to learn the proper techniques—to which Sapp responds that they’re still doing Oklahoma drills and not actually teaching proper technique at those ages.

I don’t know what the right policy prescriptions are, here, but it’s obvious that the issue of brain damage in football is a serious problem that needs serious action. It’s good to see Sapp contributing to the solution.