How Concussion Research Is Altering Youth Sports

As research mounts, experts predict it will change how kids play sports.

Concern is rising among parents and schools following a series of studies on the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head, according to the Atlantic. A 2013 study by the Institute of Medicine on concussions in youth sports found that young athletes are more likely to play through a concussion rather than avoid letting down teammates, coaches, schools and parents.

Following this report, researchers in 2014 at the Center for Injury Research and Policy noted a rise in concussion diagnoses as awareness of risk continues to spread. Finally, a recent Boston University study found the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE, in 87 percent of 202 deceased football players, including those who only played the sport in high school.

“I don’t want kids to put their futures in jeopardy,” John Kryzanowski, a head coach at a New Jersey high school football team told the Atlantic, adding: “Most coaches are afraid of lawsuits.”

As parents weigh the risks of allowing children of both genders to play contact sports — not just football — many believe that the conversation will spread to the local, state and even federal level.

“It might seem odd for the federal government to be regulating sports, but they do regulate children’s-health issues,” Chris Nowinski, the CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, reportedly said. “I expect we’ll eventually see something if sports don’t put the health of the player first.”

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