A new study suggests that playing football for just one season could affect a child's brain.
The study, published in the journal “Radiology,” looked at 25 boys between 8 and 13 years old.
Researchers found evidence of damage to delicate neurons in the brain that can accumulate over time, even if the players never suffer a concussion.
The players wore special helmets to track impacts to the head and had MRI's at the beginning and end of the season to note the differences.
Researchers found the more impacts then the more changes made to the so-called white matter, which form the basis of communication between different parts of the brain.
Scientists said the changes are concerning because the white matter is still developing at that age and any changes could have lasting effects such as cognition, personality and behavior.
Researchers plan to follow the players for up to five years to track any more changes and to know if the kids' cognitive functions are affected.
Researchers said their findings shouldn't discourage kids from being active or even from playing football.
They encouraged parents to recognize the signs of concussions and teach children how to recognize as well.
(© 2017 KHOU)