“With the NFL draft upon us, many will breathe a sigh of relief that the game they love will be returning. Not me. Now as a physician and mother to two young boys, I’m no longer cheering along on the sidelines. In fact, I don’t want my children playing tackle football at all.”
The quote sounds like one coming from an overly protective parent. Instead, it comes from physician Katherine Chretien, writing for USATODAY. When you stop and look at the science, the truth about even mild head trauma in the game of football is a serious matter. Mounting medical evidence is revealing that repetitive head trauma can cause chronic brain injury and even an early form of Alzheimer-like dementia.
It is called CTE, and it stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Once thought to primarily affect adults as a result of concussions, CTE was recently discovered in 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania defensive end Owen Thomas, a young man who started playing football at age 9 or 10 and who had never experienced a concussion. Sadly, he committed suicide, as did retired NFL great Dave Duerson in February by shooting himself in the chest. Before his death, Duerson texted his family to ask that his brain be examined for evidence of CTE that might have been responsible for his recent problems with memory loss and spelling.
Dr. Daniel Amen, renowned best-selling author & brain imaging specialist, and whose Brain Type testimonial can be read here, wrote recently on his blog, “When interviewed about Duerson’s suicide, Dr. Omalu said, ‘There is no reason, no medical justification, for any child younger than 18 to play football, period.’ I couldn’t agree more! The brain is not fully developed until about age 25. Brain injuries and trauma during the critical development phase can cause lasting harm. Protect your child’s brain and steer them to other sports that have a low risk for brain injury, like table tennis.” Amen again writes in a previous entry, “I continue to be disturbed by the lack of forward thinking by the NFL on this issue. They have not gone far enough to protect their retired players. There are thousands of retired NFL players at risk for depression, suicide and dementia NOW.”
What are we to conclude? Namely, that caution is recommended when placing your child in sports like football, and even soccer. The risks are great, and even if your child does not suffer from the effects now, they may very well come back to haunt him or her later in life.
Written by: Staff
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