Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger won't let his kids play contact football before 5th grade

Ben Roethlisberger (Getty Images)

Ben Roethlisberger is no stranger to injuries and understands the risks that come with playing football.

During his 12th annual Football ProCamp for kids from first through eighth grades on Sunday, the Steelers quarterback acknowledged the advantages of kids playing competitive sports but said fundamentals must come first.

“There’s no pads out here, we’re not tackling, we’re not hitting,” Roethlisberger said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We’re learning the fundamentals. To me, when you learn the fundamentals of football, football becomes a safer game. Too many times I think the game of football is played too early in terms of full contact hitting. I’ve heard of second and third graders playing full contact football, that’s too early.”

Roethlisberger, a father of three children ages two through six, admitted that his kids won’t be permitted to play full contact football until fifth grade if they take an interest in the sport.

“I think early on, you need to teach the fundamentals of football — how to properly tackle, how to properly hit, throw and catch, all those things,” he added. “When you learn those things early, then when football becomes what football is supposed to be, the kids are better prepared for it.”

Roethlisberger, 36, has been linked to numerous retirement rumors in the past, but committed to playing another three to five years earlier this offseason.