Research: Football's damage begins early

Football could have consequences for young players.
Football could have consequences for young players.
The movie Concussion explored the impact of traumatic brain injury on the lives of professional football players. But now researchers say the damage can start early for students who play football.

    A study of 214 professional and amateur football players uncovered long-term consequences for those who began playing before the age of 12. Players who started early had more than twice the odds of developing clinical impairment in executive function (for example, analyzing, planning and organizing tasks) and with regulating behavior and apathy. Players who started young also had higher odds of developing depression.
     There has been other research about the impact of repeated brain injury on players. Indeed, previous research has pointed to long-term consequences among those who played football before the age of 12. But those studies were based on small samples of former professional football players, explained the research, published in the journal Translational Psychiatry. The new research included professionals and amateurs who played through high school or college. 
    Repeated and violent head impacts during American football have become a significant concern to clinicians and coaches alike. In recent years, game officials have cautioned players, and efforts have been made to improve helmet technology. The true story of Bennet Omalu, a pathologist who fought to make public the facts about brain injury among football players, is told in the 2015 movie Concussion starring Will Smith. (See a clip from the movie below.)
    The research released this week is "Age of First Exposure to American football and long-term neuropsychiatric and cognitive outcomes" by M. L. Alosco et al.  It was published in Translational Psychiatry.


     After bicycling crash, author rethinks commute

    Follow StudyHall.Rocks on Twitter. 

    If you would like to comment, give us a shout, or like us on Facebook and tell us what you think.