Youth Football Linked to Earlier Brain Problems

Starting before age 12 may hasten onset of emotional and cognitive problems

More than a million American kids ages 6–12 played tackle football in 2016. The years before age 12 are especially critical for brain development. “It’s a really dynamic time,” says McKee. Photo by Flickr contributor C. Watts
Ann McKee is senior author on a new study that links early exposure to tackle football to earlier onset of cognitive, emotional, and behavior problems like attention and memory deficits, depression, irritability, and impulsivity. Photo by Cydney Scott

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