Is your kid too young to play tackle football?
POSTED: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 5:26pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 28, 2012 - 6:17pm
Tyler TX — Some concussion experts say that kids shouldn't be playing tackle football before the age of fourteen. But, others think there isn't enough scientific evidence to that specific age.
A book titled, "Concussion and Our Kids," discusses the effects of contact sports and how kids under the age of fourteen are likely to have bigger heads on weaker necks, further increasing their chances of brain injury.
However there is controversy over whether or not kids under the age of fourteen should be playing intense contact sports, especially, tackle football, due to the effects of concussions.
Dr. Jeremy Dickerson from UT Health Science Center told KETK that a concussion is,
"It's a traumatic brain injury, its not so much much structurally as it is the biochemical processes in the brain are disrupted."
While fourteen is usually an age for puberty, some experts say there is not enough evidence to support that specific age as a standard for proper brain development.
Dickerson said, "Theres a international committee that meets every four years I believe that discusses these things and so far we know that there is possibility that repeated head injuries can lead to long term effects but we don't know how many, what age, how long, there's just a lot we don't know."
We tried to contact Dr. Robert Cantu, the author of the new book, "Concussions and Our Kids," but he was out of the country. However his book discusses how children at a younger age take longer to recover from a concussion.
Dr. Dickerson agreed with that statement.
He said, "At fourteen your brain is still developing and it has been my experience that it takes the younger kids a little longer to get better from concussions so there may be something to that."
He also said, "For what we know so far there's no helmet that prevents concussions theres no mouth guard that prevents concussions, our best defense right now is just to recognize them early and get the kid out of the game and make sure they're fully recovered before we get them back in."
In the past concussions were more difficult to identify, but with the new "Natasha's Law in Texas, Dr. Dickerson says we will probably see an increase in concussions since people are more aware of it.
Dr. Dickerson said, this law, "It kind of lays out rules for concussions in an effort to protect our kids."
The law allows just about anyone to pull a player out of the game if they suspect a concussion.