A new study indicates that kids who play contact football before age 12
may suffer problems like Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) years
earlier than other kids do.
"There is a recommendation that children under the age of 14 shouldn't
play tackle football," said Ann McKee, a senior author of the study.
Eleven-year-old Rowen Ball is a soccer player. But the sport wasn't
his first choice.
Rowen's dad, Jason Ball, said, "When he turned eight or nine,
he really, really wanted to play full-contact football. Just couldn't
let him do that."
Dr. Vernon B. Williams, a sports neurologist, is the director for the Center for Sports Neurology
and Pain Medicine at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. He says parents shouldn't
draw conclusions prematurely.
"I don't ignore this information, but I think it's only a
piece of the information, and it needs to be considered in the context
of the bigger picture. And in the context of what we don't yet know,"
Dr. Williams said.
Williams adds today's players have better helmets and safety measures
than players in the study did.
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