Youth Football Linked to Earlier Brain Problems

A new study by researchers at the BU School of Medicine suggests that playing youth tackle football may lead to earlier onset of cognitive, behavior, and mood symptoms in later life.

The researchers conducted telephone clinical interviews with family and friends of 246 deceased football players and found that those who began tackle football before age 12 experienced symptoms an average of 13 years earlier than those who started playing at age 12 or older.

“Thirteen years is a huge number,” says Michael Alosco, a School of Medicine assistant professor of neurology and lead author of the study, published April 30, 2018, in the Annals of Neurology. “The younger they started to play football, the earlier these symptoms began.”

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