Football is beloved by many throughout the U.S. The affinity for it in certain states, though, such as Oklahoma, goes well beyond fondness. Similar to someone deeply in love, the flaws of the sport are glossed over, unrecognized, while the positives (teamwork, athleticism, excitement and entertainment value) are exalted. It seems that for those who adore the sport the evidence around the dangers are easily overlooked, and, in some cases, even blindly ignored.
We’ve written much about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and concussion here on NeuroNotes. We know that youth football presents a special set of challenges since it involves the still developing brain housed in the small skulls of these players. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be conducting a randomized trial to study the connection between certain types of tackling and brain injury in kids aged six through fourteen. The study will utilize mouthguards with sensors to determine the impact on these little gladiators.
Our complicated love affair with football seems fated to endure. As such, we will continue in our efforts to educate players, parents and coaches, and applaud this latest research effort by the CDC to mitigate brain injury.