BU study: Youth football injuries could affect them later in life

BOSTON (WHDH) — New research from Boston University shows injuries sustained by children who play youth football could have a negative effect on them later in life.

The study found players who start youth football when they are younger than 12 years old and suffer head injuries were twice as likely to develop problems in behavior and executive functioning. They are also three times more likely to suffer from depression compared to children who start older.

The study’s authors said, “This study adds to growing research suggesting that incurring repeated head impacts through tackle football before the age of 12 can lead to a greater risk for short- and long-term neurological consequences.”

Youth football coach Derek Taft said this is not the first time he has heard of this and called concussions and head injuries the “biggest concern” in Pop Warner football. He said they have started teaching new forms of tackling and even sideline young players who use their heads too much.

“The statistics and the numbers will go down because the safety techniques are much better,” said Taft.

Monique Barberi’s 8-year-old daughter, Bella, chose to play football over trying out for cheerleading.

“Of course we all worry and we don’t want anything to happen to any of the kids,” said Barberi.

Barberi said she will support her daughter’s decision and did not want to hold her back from something she loves.

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