Essential Pittsburgh
4:45 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Reducing the Impact of Concussions

Should young kids play full contact sports?
Credit Jim Danvers / Flickr

Americans have become increasingly concerned about contact sports and whether they should be played by children.

Dr. Anthony Kontos, UPMC Concussion Program Assistant Director of Research, says this may be a knee jerk reaction to increased awareness of injuries and recent NFL lawsuits.

His latest research focuses on concussions in youth football for players under the age of 12. The studies confirm that concussions primarily occur during games. One finding that Kontos says may surprise people is the fact that 8, 9 and 10-year-olds who’ve played tackle football incur fewer concussions than previously thought.

This contradicts a popular belief that there is a potential risk for younger kids. But he says there has not been enough research to make a claim that concussions are worse at certain ages.

While there is no way to completely completely eliminate concussions, Kontos recommends that children in sports develop proper technique when it comes to making contact with another player.