Playing football in middle school does not cause any brain damage

Precious Silva – Fourth Estate Contributor

South Dakota, United States (4E) – A new study suggests that youngsters who play football during middle school do not appear to get any noticeable short-term brain damage from repeated instances of head impacts.

However, an expert in pediatric brain injuries expressed some concerns regarding the research. According to the doctor, the study is far too small to make definitive conclusions.

The research involved 22 youngsters, with ages 11 to 13, who played football for a season. The season composed of 27 practices and nine matches. During that period, over 6,000 “head impacts” were recorded. The researchers found that these hits were of the same force and location as those experienced by players in high school and college, but occurred less often.

“The primary difference between head impacts experienced by middle school and high school football players is the number of impacts, not the force of the impacts,” said lead researcher Thayne Munce.

A season of the sports did not appear to clinically cause damage in the brain function of middle school football players, even in those who got received head impacts harder and more often, said Munce , who is the associate director of the Sanford Sports Science Institute in Sioux Falls, S.D.

“These findings are encouraging for youth football players and their parents, though the long-term effects of youth football participation on brain health are still unknown,” he added.

For the research, the football players wore sensors in their helmets. These devices measured how frequent the head was hit, as well as its location and force. Moreover the researchers screened the chi… MORE

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