Children, tackle football and the possible dangers of brain diseases

SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Tackle football is dangerous for children. Children who play tackle football absorb repeated hits to the head. As adults, they’re at higher risk of suffering cognitive deficits...
We’d suggest that, as the nation’s top doctor, the surgeon general put this warning on every youth football helmet and place it in bold type on all youth tackle football registration forms. A parent or guardian wouldn’t be able to sign up their child without seeing it.

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Football Helmets Don’t Protect Against Concussion — and We’re Not Sure What Does

We know a repeated history of concussion can lead to chronic changes in the brain’s function and structure, resulting in early dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. But even though football players always shield their heads with helmets before they play, the reality is: Helmets aren’t designed to protect people against concussion, only skull fracture.


Frequently Asked Questions About Flag Football

Do you think tackle football can be reformed to make it safe for children?
No, tackle football cannot be reformed to make it safe for children. The fundamental problem with youth tackle football is that the act of tackling and blocking a moving person will always create accidental, but repeated, head impacts.

Read more FAQs at the Concusion Legacy Foundation

Youth Tackle Football Will Be Considered Unthinkable 50 Years From Now

As a neuroscientist and a former college football player, I’m most concerned with the two-thirds of American tackle football players who are children and particularly susceptible to harm. The brain changes tremendously on the journey from birth to adulthood. Any form of trauma can change the brain, and thus change the child.


Flag Football Under 14: An Education Campaign for Parents

If you are a parent considering enrolling your child in football, the Concussion Legacy Foundation strongly recommends you delay enrolling your child in tackle football until the age of 14. Tackle football has been played for nearly 150 years, but only in the last 10 years has the scientific community begun investigating its long-term effects on the brain. The initial research is so concerning that we are launching the Flag Football Under 14 campaign (FFu14) to educate parents so you can make an informed decision.

Would You Sign Up for This?

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Playing Youth Tackle Football Is Linked to Earlier Symptoms of Brain Disease

By analyzing 211 brains, McKee and her team found that those who played tackle football before age 12 — 84 players in total — had an earlier onset of cognitive, behavior and mood symptoms by an average of 13 years, compared to those who started after age 12. Every one year younger the participants began playing tackle football predicted earlier onset of cognitive, behavioral and mood problems by about 2.5 years. Of these 211 men with CTE, 76 were amateur players, and 135 played at the professional level.

Read more at Time Magazine

Scientists Were Already Concerned About Kids Playing Tackle Football. It’s Worse Than They Thought

“There are windows of vulnerability in the youth brain that aren’t there in the adult brain.”
This week, Boston University researchers published a study that is sure to fire up parents worried about letting their kids play football: The earlier people played tackle football, researchers concluded, the sooner they could experience behavioral and emotional issues later in life.

Derek Redd: Tackle Football Can Wait for Health’s Sake

“There are windows of vulnerability in the youth brain that aren’t there in the adult brain.”
There was something West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen said during his Wednesday press conference that plenty of people have probably heard before, just not from a person in Holgorsen’s occupation.
Someone asked him about his son, Logan, a high school quarterback who recently transferred from Morgantown High to St. Francis Academy in Baltimore. Holgorsen had mentioned that Logan hadn’t started playing football until he was a freshman.
“I don’t think football needs to be played until you’re in ninth grade,” Holgorsen said. “That’s my personal opinion with kids growing up.”

Your Kid Wants to Play Tackle Football? Here's What You Do, Retired QB Says

Here's what Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and others say parents should know.
So your kid wants to play tackle football?
Take a deep breath, don’t freak out — and maybe consider flag football instead, says Kurt Warner, a Hall of Fame quarterback who played for the St. Louis Rams, the New York Giants and the Arizona Cardinals.


Read more at the Today Show website