Study Proves that Youth Tackle Football Can Lead to Brain Disease Later

May 10, 2018 | Crandall & Pera Law
Study Proves that Youth Tackle Football Can Lead to Brain Disease Later

As more information came to light regarding the connection between Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and football, players, doctors, and managers started advocating for better and safer play. Though the NFL itself has been slow in responding (slow being the polite word), more and more people are coming around to the side of these players. Attendance has gone down at games, and a growing contingent of parents and schools have shifted from football to other sports.

Those parents are right. A study published in the Annals of Neurology has found “that playing tackle football before age 12 could lead to long-term consequences later in life,” reports USA TODAY. The lead researchers were from the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, whose previous work found a connection between youth tackle football and CTE.

What the study said

Researchers looked at 246 donated brains for the study. Of those 265:

  • 211 had evidence of CTE

  • 126 “were without comorbid neurodegenerative diseases,” meaning they only showed signs of CTE

  • 35 brains showed no evidence of CTE at all

According to their findings, the age of the player did not indicate how severe the CTE pathology was. In other words, playing tackle football at a younger age did not mean that the player’s CTE was more severe than those of players who started later. But what they did find was “In the 211 participants with CTE, every one year younger participants began to play tackle football predicted earlier reported cognitive symptom onset by 2.44 years (p

In layman’s terms, how severe a player’s CTE was had nothing to do with age – but the younger the player was when he started, the faster the signs and symptoms showed up. For players who started before the age of 12, those signs started showing up, on average, 13.39 years later (cognitive) and 13.28 years later (behavioral). The same averages held true when the researchers looked at the 126 brains of players who only exhibited signs of CTE, without other conditions like Alzheimer’s.

Want to protect your kids? Don’t let them play football

Three years ago, we wrote an open letter to the parents of high school football players, urging them to keep their kids from playing. We work with people with serious brain injuries and cognitive damage every day, and it was important to us then – just as it is now – that we do what we can to help put a stop to this needless and incurable condition. That means keeping your kids away from football altogether.

This isn’t a high school player problem. This isn’t a college player problem. This isn’t a professional player problem.

These are children. Playing tackle football as a child can lead to an incurable brain disease. That disease will eventually kill them. And that disease could take root in your child’s brain before he is even old enough to ride alone on some of the roller coasters at King’s Island.

The science is clear. Football causes brain damage, and the younger you are when you play, the faster the symptoms could show up.

Choose the future. Choose your children. Choose life.

Crandall & Pera Law is proud to represent clients throughout Ohio and Kentucky. If you believe your child has been seriously injured while playing football or another contact sport, let us help you. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced brain injury lawyer, please call 877-686-8879 or fill out our contact form.

Read more:

  • Friday Night Lights Out: The Truth about Football and Long Term Brain Damage

  • Dear Parents: Please Keep Your Children Away from Football

  • Should There Be a Legal Age Limit for Playing Football?

  • College Football Players Diagnosed with CTE Confirms Warnings from Concussion Legacy Foundation

  • First Extreme Sport Athlete Diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy