How much more evidence of football damage do you need?

Though there are plenty of gorgeous days left, the baseball diamonds in the ginormous sports complex in my town are empty; the kids and their parents have moved on to either soccer or football.

It doesn’t appear that anything has stopped football from being the sport of choice for these younger kids and their parents, so it’s unlikely today’s study from Boston will change anything. Nonetheless, your kids brains are getting scrambled by tackle football.

Have a good game.

The New York Times reports the latest study from Boston University studied 214 people who now average 51 years old. Forty-three played through high school, 103 through college, and 68 made it to the NFL.

It found that those who started playing football when younger than 12 had twice the “risk of problems with behavioral regulation, apathy and executive function” and three times the risk of clinical depression.

Robert Stern’s latest study is consistent with his earlier work which focuses only on NFL players.

“The brain is going through this incredible time of growth between the years of 10 and 12, and if you subject that developing brain to repetitive head impacts, it may cause problems later in life,” Stern told the Times.

Although tackle football participation by children aged 6 to 12 has fallen 20 percent since 2009, it increased a bit in 2015.

  • Jim in RF

    Please don’t make me watch soccer.

    • Sam M

      Lacrosse.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        I was surprised lacrosse wasn’t as popular in MN when I arrived 30 years ago. Its basically “hockey on grass”.

    • wjc

      You mean the greatest sport in the world? Then go watch jai-alai or something.

    • EarthToBobby

      No one makes you watch anything.

  • Sam M

    I played football through college and there is no way my kids are playing football before the 7th grade. In fact, I would even consider holding them out till high school. I cringe every time I see these young kids in helmets and pads. There are so many other football skills you can develop playing flag or touch football especially at such a young age.

    I love the game and I’ve personally benefited from playing but I don’t think we can afford to look the other way.

  • Jeff

    I like watching football. So how does this work? I need to find someone with a PhD in a field that sounds scientific who can deny there are any harmful effects with some pseudoscience. Then have multi-billionaires fund a campaign repeating the same made up evidence and repeat it over and over. The NFL seems to be falling down on the job lately.

  • andy

    I also cringe when I see the little guys out there with full pads ramming their squishy heads together. I’m very happy my young nephew didn’t like football and chose lacrosse instead.
    I’ve been watching less and less football over the past few years, to the point of being completely off the wagon (or on? I never get that right). Either way, I haven’t seen a single snap this season, college or pro, and I have no intentions of starting anytime soon. It’s too nice outside to watch football all day anyway. Judging from the ratings so far this season, I’m not alone.
    BTW, at one point I was a super-fan. Watching my team (Packers) religiously and any other games I had access too. It’s just not that interesting to me anymore.

    • Jerry

      Beautiful Sunday afternoons in the fall are too precious to spend inside watching tv

  • wjc

    Over the next few years, football will start to go the way of boxing. It will still be around, but will seem somewhat ridiculous and barbaric. Then there will be a more violent form which will gain popularity a la MMA.

    • X.A. Smith

      Maybe rugby?

      • wjc

        But since rugby is played without helmets, which provide an illusion of protection while giving players a weapon to use while tackling, I would bet that rugby has far fewer head injuries than American football. Rugby players learn how to avoid head to head contact.

  • Erik Petersen

    Football is a bad game period.

  • Jack

    This mom was really glad when our son quit football after the first practice in junior high. Now we watch him in the U of M marching band during the fall. I’d like to thank the U for such a beautiful stadium for band concerts. It’s just too bad that we have to endure 4 quarters of football each game day. 😉

    Go trombone section!