Another Study Shows Football is Bad for Young Brains

Parents not sure what to do

Monoah Brown, Staff Reporter

After 25 years of playing football, former Minnesota Viking Greg Delong feels like a “walking time bomb” who could end up with brain disease after all the hits he had taken on the field. Delong played through high school, college, and six years in the NFL, and has seen some former teammates suffering.

Delong has another reason to worry, his twelve-year-old son has followed him onto the gridiron, and is part of a groundbreaking study that found brain changes in children after just one season of football.

Although the findings don’t show whether the brain changes are permanent or cause disease, they have some parents like Delong questioning if it’s even worth the risk.

According to NBC coverage, over three million kids in America participate in tackle football programs, and research has largely focused on the long-term effects of concussions, a form of a traumatic brain injury.

A team from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center decided to look beyond concussions to the hundreds of less serious head blows a player might encounter during practices and games over the course of a season.

“This is important, particularly for children, because their brains are undergoing such rapid change, particularly in the category from maybe 9 to 18. And we just don’t know a lot about it.” said Dr. Chris Whitlow one of the head researchers.

Each boy in the study was given a helmet that measures the amount of frequency and severity of the hits during practice.

Dr. Alex Powers, a pediatric neurosurgeon involved with the research, said it was surprising to see how forceful the gradeschoolers were hitting. “They are hitting at extremely high levels,” he said.

Answers could be years away, but all the Panthers parents know is that based on the study published by journal Radiology, something is happening to their children’s brains during the season.

Any person is going to get hurt when they are constantly throwing their bodies at one another. It’s just a matter of time until the long term injuries catch up to them and start to show signs and symptoms.