On its front page, the New York Times (1/29, A1, Belson, Subscription Publication) reports that a study published online Jan. 28 in the journal Neurology suggests that “NFL retirees who began playing tackle football before they turned 12 were at increased risk of developing memory and thinking problems compared with players who began when they were 12 or older.” While “both groups scored below average on many memory and cognitive tests…there was a roughly 20 percent difference between the two groups on several measures.”
The Washington Post (1/29, Hobson) reports, “While the study’s authors cautioned their subject group was limited – all former NFL players who have complained of cognitive, behavioral or mood problems – their findings suggest football is unsafe for children.” One of study authors said, “This study supports the idea…that there may be later life consequences associated with childhood exposure to repetitive head impacts.” He added, “Regardless of the results, it makes logical sense that children whose brains are rapidly developing should not be hitting their heads over and over again.”
The AP (1/29, Golen) reports that the study has limitations in that “it only looked at former NFL players; the conclusions cannot be generalized to a broader population.”
— “To Allay Fears, N.F.L. Huddles With Mothers,” Ken Belson, New York Times, January 28, 2015.