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Not Just Concussions – Study Shows Head Injuries in Youth Football Change Brain

by John Gomez | Last Updated: October 26, 2016
Head Injuries

Researchers have learned a lot about the problem of concussions in football in recent years.  The issue has become so prevalent that it has changed the perception of the game for many people.  While fans of the game will make their own choice as to whether or not to continue to follow it, there are no real consequences for someone’s entertainment decisions.  That’s not the case with parents of children who play football.  Football parents are becoming increasingly concerned about concussion risks.  They may need to start paying attention to another issue based on the results of a recent study.  That study concluded that even head injuries that are considered relatively mild such that they do not constitute concussions can change brain tissue over the course of a season.

About the Head Injuries Study

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recently announced the results of their study.  Those interested in reading the release of this information can find it here.  The team of scientists wanted to measure the effects of the repeated blows to the head that youth football players endure during the course of a season.  They studied 25 players between the ages of 8 and 13 who played in a youth football league.

The researchers performed MRIs on the subjects before the season began.  Those players wore special helmets during the season that measured and recorded the force of impact and frequency of blows to the head.  The researchers analyzed those data on an individual basis.  The players were also given MRIs at the end of the season so that a comparison could be done.  The study revealed that the repeated blows to the head experienced during the season led to changes in the brain.

Specifically, these changes involved white matter.  White matter is the tissue that connects the brain’s gray matter.  The researchers concluded that even minor or undiagnosed head injuries that do not lead to the level of a concussion can cause changes in the brain.  This is apparently true even in youth football and even over the course of just one season.  Not enough time has passed to be able to determine if these changes are temporary, long-term or permanent in nature.  Regardless, traumatic brain injuries often involve problems with the white matter.

What the Youth Football Head Injuries Study Means

The study reveals what could be a serious problem with head injuries in youth football, though more research is likely necessary to formulate any long-term conclusions.  What is known is that 3 million children play football in the United States.  Any or all of these children could be suffering damage to their brains even if they do not exhibit outward signs of head injuries.  Parents of youth football players will have to make decisions regarding whether or not their children should continue to play.  Parents of children who want to start playing football will also face difficult decisions.

Traumatic brain injuries overall are a serious public health issue across the world, whether they occur on a football field, in a car accident or because of a fall.  People whose children suffer head injuries because of the negligence of others should seek the advice of children’s rights lawyers.  Doing so could help prevent additional trauma and protect others from similar harm.  If your child has been harmed in this manner, contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today for a free case evaluation.

To learn more about sport safety regarding football review Helmet Myths with Gomez Trial Attorneys.

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