Youth Football and Brain Injuries
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer. A recent medical study found significant brain changes in children after only one season of tackle football. These results are even more shocking because they only include young boys who were never diagnosed with a concussion or even showed signs of a concussion.
The brain changes came as a result of repeated head impact common in tackle football. The scientists dubbed these as “sub-concussive head impacts.”
In-Depth Details About the Brain Changes
The study specifically found irregular water molecule movement through the brain’s white matter after a season of playing youth tackle football. White matter makes up the majority of brain tissue and is responsible for transporting neural signals to the gray matter, or “thinking centers,” of the brain.
According to the scientists who conducted this study, water molecules typically move through the white matter in a relatively uniform pattern. After one season of tackle football, though, the water molecules in the youths studied became more random.
This random pattern of water molecule movement within the brain has been linked to other brain trauma, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI) often associated with soldiers.
Symptoms of Brain Changes
The study’s researchers did not offer any symptoms of the repeated “sub-concussive head impacts,” but explained that their findings were consistent with a mild TBI. The symptoms of a mild TBI include fatigue, headaches, and dizziness. Symptoms of mild TBIs can also include emotional problems, difficulty concentrating, and visual deficits.
Long-Term Effects of the Brain Changes
The scientists also did not offer any potential long-term effects of the “sub-concussive head impacts.” They instead explained that the changes may resolve themselves after players stop playing tackle football. However, these scientists also indicated that the brain changes could become more pronounced and impactful with multiple seasons of tackle football.
Limitations of the Study
This study was merely a preliminary inquiry into the effects of youth football on adolescent brains. As such, it is far from conclusive. Future studies may find even more alarming information about the effects of “sub-concussive head impact.”
How was the study conducted?
Scientists reached these findings by studying 25 young boys ranging from ages 8 to 13. A specialized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique was mostly used in order to measure the changes in white matter. The researchers also video-taped all of the players’ games to ensure they did not sustain concussions.
Related Articles by Ed Smith:
- NFL Brain Injuries
- What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
- Risk Factors for Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Negligence Contributing Factor in Football Player Death
Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer. If you, or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, please call me at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. I may also be reached toll-free at (800) 404-5400.
Member of the Million Dollar Forum. This is a fellowship of trial lawyers who have obtained multiple million dollar verdicts and settlements.
I am the founder of AutoAccident.com, California’s extensive personal injury information website.
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons