Brain Damage and Youth Sports

Are we endangering our children’s brain health by allowing them to play high-impact contact sports? Researchers are finding that repetitive blows to the head in high-impact contact sports place athletes at risk of permanent brain damage.

Football players are prone to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), caused by repetitive blows to the head. Mayo Clinic scientists recently discovered an increase in brain damage in men who played contact sports as children (Science Daily).

The Mayo study links school contact sports – football, boxing, wrestling, rugby, basketball, and baseball – with the development of CTE. The symptoms of CTE include confusion, memory loss, depression, impaired judgment, aggression and progressive dementia. These symptoms can begin years or even decades after brain trauma.

The authors of the study recognize the mental and physical health benefits of playing sports but emphasize the importance of protecting players from even “mild” repetitive impacts (Rossland Telegraph).

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John Boyd
John joined Slater Vecchio in December 2012. He brings twelve years of trial experience with him and has represented clients before the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the British Columbia Court of Appeal.