Eighty percent of concussions kids get while playing sports occur in football, Cantu says. And with 3 million kids playing football, that’s a lot of concussions.
Repeated hits to the head—even when they don’t cause concussions—can be just as dangerous, maybe even more so. Over time, such impact can lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive degeneration of the brain tissue that results in memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control, and many other problems.
And while helmets offer some protection, there has not yet been one invented that really prevents concussions. Cantu advocates for gentler football practice where kids younger than 14 do not tackle (their bodies cannot withstand the impact to their brain.) And kids in high school and college should be coached to avoid using their heads to hit one another.