Is football safe for children? This is the question that was raised by this new report. A new study shows that there might be some brain changes caused by football in young children. Despite the fact that practicing any sport is great for children, football might be a little too dangerous for them.
This study found that the head impacts that children suffer from while playing this game, can cause some brain changes, even after a short period of time. The findings suggest that children can get serious damage to their brains if they play this game for a long time.
In order to conduct this study, researchers from different institutions examined 25 children that played in a youth football league. They examined their brains to see if there was any damage caused by this game.
This study was made because more and more professional athletes are dying due to chronic traumatic encephalopathy. This is caused by head trauma and is a very dangerous and degenerative condition. This is also found in people who suffer from dementia.
CTE is believed to be caused by multiple traumas to the brain like concussions. The symptoms that appear with the disease are confusion, aggression, memory loss, and depression. Despite the fact that this disease is a dangerous one, this study did not focus on this disease. This study only looked for brain changes that might appear to young players.
All of the children were boys, aged between 8 and 13 and none of them had been previously diagnosed with a concussion. All of the boys used a special helmet so that researchers could measure the force with which players get hit. The helmet had sensors that detected every crash. The games and the practices were filmed to check if the helmets measured the force right.
In order to measure the brain changes the researchers looked for the FA scores (fractional anisotropy). If the scores were high the child was healthy and there was little or no brain change. If the FA scores were low there were some disruptions in the brain.
The findings showed that children who were exposed to a higher force while playing (getting hit, falling) had a lower FA score. This means that football could be a dangerous sport for young children because it can cause brain changes that could cause more damage in time.
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