ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A new study finds that young players can experience changes in their brain just after one season of playing football.
CBS2’s Christine Sloan reports the study reveals that young players who suffered no concussion symptoms after one season still had measurable changes or disruptions in their brains.
Multiple medical researchers focused on 25 male players between the ages of 8 and 13, and recorded their head impacts using advanced MRIs to screen them.
They discovered the more a player was exposed to force, the more likely he’d have some sort of brain abnormality.
“The brain is continuing to develop until we’re well into our 20s, so any disruption of that makes you wonder whether we’re doing the right thing,” said Dr. Derek Chong, a neurologist with Lenox Hill Hospital. “A lot of it has to do with the attitude and teaching to protect their heads, instead of using as part of the tackling aspect. A lot of it has to do with the training.”
Sam Bruno’s twin sons both played football.
“If we had to do it all again, I would absolutely, positively allow them to play,” said Bruno of Tenafly, New Jersey.
However, Dani Gregory won’t allow her 13-year-old son Leo play football anymore.
“This is why I had to pull him out. He has no idea, the force. He throws himself in there, he loves it. I don’t like watching it,” said Gregory.
The study’s authors said more research needs to be done and that the kids they focused on need to be followed more to see if the disruptions in their brains persist.
“I think this study is only looking at changes and it’s not looking at what actually happens to them in the long run,” said Chong.
The study was published in the medical journal Radiology.
The researchers plan to follow the players for a longer period of time, even after they stop playing football.