Key takeaways from BU’s study on youth football

Tamir Kalifa/The New York Times

Here are the key takeaways from a study by Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center on participation in youth football:

 Playing tackle football before age 12 exposes children to repetitive head impacts that may double their risk of developing behavioral problems and triple their chances of suffering depression later in life.

 The possible consequences include behavioral and mood impairments such as depression and apathy.


 The study does not recommend any policy or rule changes for youth football.

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 One of the study’s senior authors said he does not think children should play tackle football.

 The younger players were when they started playing tackle football, the greater risk they faced of developing problems later in life.

 The study focused on 214 former football players who did not play any other organized contact sports. 103 played football only through college, 43 only played through high school, and 68 played in the NFL.

 The study does not address the possible risks of children developing CTE.

Related: Study links youth football to greater risk of later health problems.