Health & Safety
A study by researchers at Boston University finding that athletes who were less than 12 years old at the time of their first exposure to tackle football had more behavioral and cognitive problems later in life than those whose age of first exposure to the sport was later has, predictably, garnered a great deal of attention from the mainstream media. In the interest of balanced and objective reporting, we asked a number of researchers and clinicians to review and comment on the study. Here's what they told us.
Health & Safety
Are men who played high school football in Minnesota in the twenty-five years after World War II at increased risk of later developing dementia, Parkinson's or ALS compared with non-football playing high school males? Not according to two studies by researchers at the Mayo Clinic.
Health & Safety
Are parents committing child abuse simply by allowing their kids to play a collision sport like football before middle school? Not unless it rises to the level of a callous and wanton disregard for a child's safety (e.g. reckless endangerment).
Health & Safety
Despite widespread media coverage and speculation regarding the late-life or post-retirement risks of cognitive impairment in athletes who engaged in sports involving repetitive blows to the head and high concussion risk, and assertions that CTE causes them to be at high risk of suicide, there have been virtually no peer-reviewed, well-designed scientific studies that establish, much less quantify, such risks.
Health & Safety
As someone who has been educating sports parents about head trauma in sports for the past seventeen years, and about the very real risk posed by chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) for the last decade, it is not surprising that I receive emails from parents all the time expressing deep concern about stories in the media that have led them - wrongly - to fear that playing contact or collision sports, or suffering a sports-related concussion, especially one slow to heal, makes it inevitable that their child will develop CTE and is at greatly increased risk of committing suicide.

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"In reviewing your website, I was very impressed with the breadth and depth of the information. You all are doing nice work!"
Gerard A. Gioia, PhD Chief, Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology Director, Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program Children's National Medical Center Associate Professor, Depts. of Pediatrics & Psychiatry George Washington Univ. School of Medicine

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