New study says even one season of tackle football can hurt kids’ brains

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Could just one season of youth tackle football hurt our kids’ brains? A new study says yes. Even more shocking- the brain changes were found even without a concussion diagnosis.

Jessica and Michael Price have their hands full with three active boys.

“They play soccer, flag football, basketball,” said Michael.

Their oldest recently suffered a concussion off the field.

“Just tag football and recess, had a collision with another kid,they were both going for the same ball that was in the air,” said Michael.

“It was a little scary. The symptoms were more scary,” said Jessica. “He was kind of out of it.”

A new study out of Wake Forest University looked at head impacts that don’t lead to a clinically diagnosed concussion and their effect on the developing brain. It found measurable brain changes in children after a single season.

“I think that type of research is somewhat shocking,” said Dr. Marcus Pesa with Scioto Urgent Care. He said more studies are needed to definitively prove the findings. But, said new research like this makes it tougher on parents.

“I’ve heard a lot of parents talking about that as far as whether the risks of long time damage is worth putting kids in sports like that,” said Dr. Pesa.

Dr. Pesa said for most kids as long as there’s no significant symptoms they can continue to safely play.

Jessica and Michael said they’ll take it one game at a time. They’re still considering whether or not their oldest will play tackle football.=

“It’s dangerous and it’s scary at the same time but also unfortunately it’s part of athletics,” said Jessica.

An estimated three million kids play tackle football in the US every year.

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