New study raises questions over when kids should start tackle fo - FOX Carolina 21

New study raises questions over when kids should start tackle football

Posted: Updated:
(FOX Carolina)/May 2, 2018 (FOX Carolina)/May 2, 2018
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A new study linking youth tackle football with emotional and cognitive problems is heating up an ongoing debate about when kids should start the sport.  The findings of the study were released earlier this week.

In this study, researchers focused their attention on what happens to kids who start tackle football early.

One local youth football coach said he's seen lots of changes implemented in the sport over the years.

Coach Stanley Cohen loves the game of football.  He's been working with young players for nearly 30 years. 

“As a youth football coach, we want to teach these young men and boys the proper techniques and procedures in terms of tackling,” said Cohen.

Cohen said safety precautions have also been revised during his coaching career.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and VA Boston Healthcare System looked at the donated brains of 211 football players who were diagnosed with CTE after death, and found that the players who started tackle football before 12 years old, had an earlier onset of emotional and cognitive symptoms.  CTE IS A degenerative brain disease that is linked to repeated head trauma.

An Upstate doctor said the study examines just one piece of a bigger puzzle.

Dr. John Lucas is a Sports Medicine Physician at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

“What they looked at was the age of onset in terms of youth tackle football and what they expected to find was the earlier you started tackle football the more severe your symptoms would be, Lucas explained. "They actually didn't find that, but what they did find was that the earlier you start tackle football the earlier you have onset of symptoms related to CTE.”

Dr. Lucas said the study provides useful information for us to be aware of, but said it doesn't necessarily apply to every child who plays a contact sport like tackle football.

“I don’t recommend that we take this and say look this applies to everybody or every youth football player," said Lucas. "This only applies to this subgroup of people who had symptoms and were a part of this study, but with that said I think we are correct to raise concerns about hits.”

Devin Hawkins used to play youth football for Coach Stanley Cohen, and took some tough hits, himself.

Now he has sons of his own, and while he wouldn't mind if they play the sport, he says he's glad to be informed as a parent

“I’m glad it's being recognized. I’m glad it's not being looked over," said Hawkins. "I can only imagine the people before us having brain trouble now.”

Cohen, Lucas and Hawkins all agreed that it's not just football where there is a danger of taking hard hits.  Other sports can also lead to concussions and injuries.

The study was published Monday in the Annals of Neurology.

Copyright 2018 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
Fox Carolina
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WHNS; Greenville, SC. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.