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Research suggests Newton kids playing football face brain trauma


Newton youths participate in a wide variety of sports including football. With football, the concerns for parents are growing even if they let their kids play. Having children playing the game of tackle football is under growing scrutiny with the number of people who have suffered brain trauma after a head injury. Research is indicative of the dangers of traumatic brain injury when the sport is played by kids under the age of 12.

Former players in the National Football League between age 40 and 65-years-old were studied and it was found that those who began with tackle football prior to reaching age 12 were in greater jeopardy of issues with the brain than players who didn't play until after that age. This comes on the heels of a number of former players going public with their struggles and permanent disability from playing football even at levels below the NFL.

Although the research suggests a link between age and long-term damage due to brain trauma, a caveat from the researchers states that the number of people studied was small and only involved those who made it to the NFL.

Because children between 10-years-old and 12-years-old are still in the midst of brain development, it is a window when a hard hit or repeated hits can cause damage. The resulting brain injuries could have long-term effects. The players who were studied participated in football for more than 12 years with a minimum of two years in the NFL. Half of these players started before age 12. The other half started after age 12. The former players had MRI examinations of their brains. There are more changes to brain activity with those who started before age 12.

While the fact that the participants in the study were NFL players and that could have had an influence on the amount of damage to the brain, there is still growing evidence that the act of tackling others can cause brain trauma especially if it begins at a younger age. Those who participated in tackle football and are suffering from brain trauma later in life might not make the connection between the two, especially if they didn't play at a higher level. However, if there are unexplained issues with the brain and normal functioning after having played football, it is wise to speak to a legal professional about a possible case.

Source: Boston Globe, "Brain risk seen in early-age football," Bob Hohler, Aug. 11, 2015

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