CTE, football and youth

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s not the concussion, but all those other hits to the head.

Parents who wonder whether their children should play football may want to consider some of the discussion about limiting subconcussive hits to the brain.

Dr. Robert Cantu who co-founded the CTE Center at Boston University is encouraging communities to support flag football until high school.

This is just one way of limiting the number of subconcussive hits young athletes who play football might encounter.

In the October 7, 2019 issue of Annals of Neurology a study from researchers at the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center Boston University School of Medicine examined the Duration of American Football Pay and Chronic Traumatice Encephalopathy.

The study found “the odds of CTE double every 2.6 years of football played.

After accounting for brain bank selection, the magnitude of the relationship between years played and CTE remained consistent.”

Dr. Robert Cantu said, “in our work, at B.U we can not connect the number of concussions one has with their risk for CTE. Its the number of total hits you’ve taken to the head and a proxy for that is the number of years you’ve played a sport like football.  But concussions per se do not significantly put you at a greater risk for CTE. So someone who has had 4 or 5 concussions over the course of their career,  they should not be worried that that alone is going to give them increased risks for CTE.”


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