Tag Archives: Football

Study of Retirees Links Youth Football to Brain Problems

Article Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/29/sports/football/study-points-to-cognitive-dangers-of-tackle-football-before-age-12.html?_r=0

With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I thought that this would be an interesting topic that integrates both football and cognitive psychology.  This article discusses research findings on the link between NFL retirees participation in youth football and cognitive problems.  Researchers found that NFL retirees who played football before the age of 12 years old had significantly worse test results than those NFL retirees who started playing football after 12 years old.  These test results of retirees who played before 12 were able to recall less words that they learned 15 minutes prior to the test and had lower mental flexibility in comparison to those who played youth football after 12 years of age. 

Researchers linked these lower test scores as a result of playing football before the age of 12.  The article discussed how 12 years old is an important time for brain development and head injuries during this time results in cognitive difficulties in the future.  Because this age is an important time for brain development, we need to recognize its importance and do our best to avoid injuries that will lead to future cognitive difficulties.  The brain is one of the most important organs we have that determines how we live therefore we must do our best to protect this organ.

This leads to the controversy and question discussed in the article of whether it is safe for children to play football before the age of 12 years old.  Some parents today still allow their children to play tackle football before they are 12 but researchers suggest that parents shouldn’t allow their children to play tackle football at such a young age.  This article discusses how tackle football leads to higher risks of head injuries that interrupts brain development which results in future cognitive difficulties.  Dr. Robert Stern said, “Being hit in the head repeatedly through tackle football during a critical time in brain development may be associated with later-life cognitive difficulties,” as discussed in the article.  With this research done, parents should be aware that signing up their children to play tackle football before the age of 12 years old leads to higher risks of cognitive difficulties in the future. 

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I think that this article is a very interesting article because it integrates two important things for parents when it comes to their children—playing sports and development—cognitive development especially.   The article had great research and findings about cognitive development and how it is affected by playing tackle football before the age of 12 years old.  With these findings, we must be aware about whether we should allow children to participate in such a dangerous at such a young age.  If we choose to let children participate in tackle football at such a young age, we must know what risks we are taking and make sure we do our best to take the right precautions to make sure our child develops normally and that we are not disrupting development of children. 

With research such as the one discussed in the article, we can take the right precautions and steps if we do allow children to participate in tackle football before the age of 12 years old.  Findings in the link between youth football and cognitive development allows us to gain more knowledge about cognitive development in children and how it could effect them in the future when playing rough sports such as football.  This article helped me gain insight on cognitive development in children, how their cognitive development is affected by participation in tackle football, and what precautions we can do to prevent delay or interruption in cognitive development.  I enjoyed reading this article and learning about the research and findings they did and found because it integrates football and cognitive development.  I also enjoyed it because it discussed the controversy of whether allowing children under the age of 12 to play tackle football and what it can do to their cognitive development, both in the present, and in the future.