SPORTS
12/18/2014 12:48 pm ET Updated Dec 18, 2014

How Young Is Too Young To Be Playing Football?

While the dangers of concussions and head injuries for NFL players has generated plenty of conversation and litigation in recent years, professional athletes are far from the only ones at risk. Dr. Robert Cantu, author of "Concussions and our Kids," joined HuffPost Live on Wednesday to discuss the risks facing young athletes and to attempt to answer the question, how young is too young to be playing football?

"The research says that the young brain, the developing brain, is particularly vulnerable to trauma compared with an adult brain," Dr. Robert Cantu, author of "Concussions and our Kids," told host Marc Lamont Hill. "There are multiple studies that show the younger brain trauma is taken, the greater chance for later-life problems with both behavioral, mood and cognitive difficulties."

Cantu clarified later that flag-football would be a better option, though that likely has little chance of happening in most parts of the country. Cantu said that children 13 and under, from a medical standpoint, probably shouldn't be allowed to play tackle football.

"This all has to be balanced, though, by the fact that we want youngsters playing sports. I certainly want youngsters playing sports. I just want them playing football using the flag variety under the age of 14. Then, when they're in high school, pick up the tackle techniques."

Watch the rest of the clip above, and catch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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