A new study conducted by researchers from Boston University found that children who sustained a concussion/mild traumatic brain injury prior to the age of 12 had a greater risk of later-life cognitive impairment.  Robert A. Stern, Ph.D. and colleagues at Boston University conducted a study to “determine the relationship between exposure to repeated head impacts through tackle football prior to age 12, during a key period of brain development and later-life executive function, memory, and estimated verbal IQ.”  The study, published in Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology studied 42 former NFL players ages 40-69, who were divided into two groups based on their age and first exposure to tackle football.  The players were administered a neuropsychological test battery consisting of the Wisconsin Card Sort test, Neuropsychological Assessment Battery List Learning Test, and the Wide Range Achievement Test, 4th Edition (WRAT-4) reading subtest.

The researchers found that those NFL players who had sustained a brain injury prior to the age of 12 performed significantly worse on all measures after controlling for the total number of years of football played and age at time of evaluation,  indicating executive dysfunction, memory impairment, and lower estimated verbal IQ.

According to the abstract conclusion, “there is an association between participation in tackle football prior to age 12 and greater later-life cognitive impairment measured using objective neuropsychological tests.  These findings suggest that incurring repeated head impacts during a critical neuro developmental period may increase the risk of later-life cognitive impairment.”

From a neuro legal perspective, this study lends objective proof that children who sustained a traumatic brain injury have a greater risk of long term problems that their cohorts who sustained a concussion after the age of 12. Click here for the full article. If you or a loved one has been injured, contact Stark & Stark today for your free no obligation consultation.