Football concussions are as bad for kids as smoking, says new PSA

An initiative to prevent brain injury enlists a former NFL player to stop children from playing tackle football

Published On
Oct 10, 2019

Editor's Pick

Parents go to great lengths to protect their kids, especially from preventable injuries. But a graphic new PSA compares the dangers of tackle football—popular nationwide for kids as young as 5—with smoking.

The spot for The Concussion Legacy Foundation from health and wellness marketing agency Fingerpaint shows kids in football uniforms happily puffing away as their parents hand out smokes to their children and help them light up. The comparison is clear.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation warns against the dangers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which can be caused by head injuries like concussions that are common in football or suffered by soldiers. The spot itself urges parents to keep their kids from engaging in tackle football until they turn 14.

The initiative features former San Francisco 49ers player Chris Borland, who retired from the game after his rookie year, citing fears of CTE from years of unreported concussions. He plays the referee in the spot. Angela Harrison, one of the creators of the spot, and director Rebecca Carpenter are both the children of former football players who developed CTE.

The PSA is running in TV, digital and social media placements. While the smoking in the spot is, of course, simulated, so is the tackling, which was performed by teenaged stunt actors.


Oct 10, 2019
Angela Harrison
Head of Creative:
Andy Spitzer
Social Media/Media Planning:
Katie Beller
Social Media/Media Planning:
Julie Thomas
Social Media/Media Planning:
Kana Harding
Digital Assets:
Andrea Pemberton
Digital Assets:
Anna Knapp
Digital Assets:
John Armstrong
Digital Assets:
Kyle Franzen
Matthew Bitley
Brad Wilson
Taryn Marino
Creative Direction:
Sheyda Karvar
Rebecca Carpenter
Creative Direction:
Bully Pictures

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