PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are new dangers for children who play football, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The study focuses on younger players and an increased risk for emotional and cognitive problems.
Owen Brearley, who played football for the University of Pennsylvania, committed suicide when he was 21.
He was among the youngest and first non-professional player to be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalophathy, or CTE, which is caused by repetitive brain trauma.
“It does give a possible contributing factor to what was an astounding out of the blue act,” Katherine Brearley said.
Back in 2010, Owen’s mom said even though he started playing football when he was 10, he never had symptoms of a brain injury
“I was very surprised,” she said. “I still feel like I’m in a story that I’m not supposed to be in.”
The study published in the Annals of Neurology looked at the brains of 246 deceased amateur and professional football players.
Furthermore, 211 of them had CTE.
Gregory Ransom is heartbroken about the loss of his 13-year-old son James, another young football player.
“I loved my son,” said Ransom. “He was just a wonderful kid.”
The study showed kids who began playing tackle football before the age of 12 began showing cognitive and emotional symptoms associated with CTE an average of 13 years earlier than those starting after 12.
“He said, ‘Well, I get my bell rung all the time playing football’ and it was shocking to me to hear that,” Ransom recalled about his son.
James suffered from short-term memory, vision loss, OCD, and he eventually took his own life.
His family wants to warn others about the potential dangers of football.
“I want parents to know the science and to know what’s happening to their sons’ brains,” Gregory said.
The study also showed that for each year, the earlier kids begin playing football, they could begin to experience symptoms associated with CTE two and a half years sooner.