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What are the consequences of head injury in youth football?

A recent press release explained new findings on the effect of head trauma in youth football.

Football is a popular sport played across North America. It often involves tackling which can be detrimental to the health of the players. It is not uncommon for football players to get concussions, but repeated concussions may have severe consequences—especially in youth.

During youth, the brain is at an especially vulnerable state as it is in the crucial stages of development. Dr. Kim, a researcher from Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, United States, used medical resonance imaging (MRI) to study myelinated nerves in the brain to determine the impact of head injury on young football players.

Following a football season, 26 male football players with a mean age of 12 as well as 22 males who did not play youth football had MRIs. In youth football players, the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerve fibers in the center of the brain responsible for information integration and coordination, was strained.

The researchers believe repeated head injury and concussions could alter the shape of the corpus callosum and hope to follow up with the youth to further examine any brain changes. With more information on the dangers of multiple concussions, better rules and guidelines can be created to ensure the safety of football players.

Written by Monica Naatey-Ahumah, BSc

Reference: Radiological Society of North America. (2018). Youth football changes nerve fibers in brain [Press Release]. Retrieved from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-11/rson-yfc111518.php


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