A new study into the effects of tackle football on young, developing brains finds that children who start playing football before age 12 have greater risks for behavioral issues, cognitive impairment and depression as adults.
WASHINGTON — A new study released Tuesday in the journal Nature’s Translational Psychiatry revealed that children who began playing tackle football before age 12 experienced emotional and behavioral issues at higher rates later in life than those who did not.
Those who started playing youth football before age 12 were found to be twice as likely to have trouble regulating behavior and have issues with executive functioning. The same group was three times as likely to suffer clinical depression.
Significantly, the increased risk for these conditions was independent of whether the players continued to play through high school, college or professionally.
“This study adds to growing research suggesting that incurring repeated head impacts through tackle football before the age of 12 can lead to a greater risk for short- and long-term neurological consequences,” said Boston University’s Michael Alosco, Ph.D., the lead author of the study.
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