New study says football can damage young brains after one season

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Could just one year on the football field damage our kids’ brains? That’s what a new study tells us.

It’s no secret that studies put our country on high alert for football-related concussions.

“We’ve given the coaches some clipboards that have all the symptoms of concussions and what to do in that respect,” Boiling Springs High School athletic trainer Ben Widder said.

The study at Wake Forest School of Medicine says even before concussive symptoms, these hits are affecting our young athletes’ developing brains after just one season.

So we went to a doctor who has been studying football-induced brain injuries for decades.

“There is some white matter, and you see some changes in the white matter, but we don’t know what that means,” said Dr. Michael Cordas, Sports Medicine Director at PinnacleHealth.

The study says in one year, 25 young football players displayed a change in their brain’s white matter. Dr. Cordas calls the study small and inconclusive.

“We know that it’s abnormal to have them, but we haven’t done enough studies longitudinally enough to understand if this today will cause a problem tomorrow, or the next day, or 10 years down the road,” Cordas said.

Even after Cordas sees three dozen sports-related concussions a week, he says it’s too early in the research process to make your child sit out of the game.

“Make sure your coaches are educated enough, make sure your officials are doing their job, and make sure your kids are educated enough to know not to hit with their heads,” he said.

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