NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Young kids who play football could be getting hurt worse than we thought. Researchers at Wake Forest University found that just one season of football was enough to cause changes in a child's brain.
The study compared MRIs of 25 boys between 8 and 13 years old before and after one season of football. It revealed changes in what is called white matter: insulated neurons that help the brain communicate with the rest of the body.
Researchers don't know a lot about football and youth. Movies like "Concussion" and a number of high-profile tragic events surrounding current or former professional football players have drawn most of the attention toward the NFL. But what about the estimated 3.5 million American kids who play the sport too?
Researchers say while it's important for kids and parents to know the dangers and signs of head trauma-- they don't want the study to discourage them from football.
Now that researchers have this info they want to learn more. They want to understand the long-term impact football has on kids past only one season. They want to follow these young football players for 5 years to see if these changes get worse.