Study shows kids who play football before 12 may have increased risk for brain damage

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Super Bowl is this Sunday, many of you have plans to watch the game with friends and family, and while many of us like football, a new study suggests young children should not be playing this contact sport.

A new study just published in the journal Nuerobiology shows that letting your child play tackle football before they turn 12 could be more harmful to their brain than if they waited to play.

Researchers at Boston University tested 42 former NFL players and split them into two groups: those who played football before the age of 12 and those who didn't start playing until their teenage years.

The study found those who played tackle football in elementary school scored 20-percent worse on the cognitive tests than those who played later in life.

Both groups, though, scored below average on many of the tests, indicating that playing football at any age has an effect on future brain function.

Researchers said they only looked at former NFL players who averaged 400 concussions each throughout their career, and the conclusions can't beĀ generalizedĀ for everyone.

Researchers add the results are concerning enough that further study should be done to see how this contact sport could affect the future of our youth.