New study: Kids who play tackle football before the age of 12 get CTE symptoms 'much earlier'

Almost a year after she found that all but one of 111 examined brains of former NFL players contained the degenerative, contact-induced disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee has released another study that suggests even the youngest of football players are at risk for brain trauma.

As reported by CBS News Tuesday morning, a new study led by McKee and featured in the medical journal "Annals of Neurology" found that children "who start playing tackle football before age 12 will, on average, develop cognitive and emotional symptoms associated with (CTE) much earlier than those who start later."

The study, which CBS News said shows that "the dangers for children who play football could be worse than previously thought," involved an exam of 246 brains of deceased former football players -- both amateur and professional. McKee said that 211 of those brains were found to have CTE, while researchers found that kids who started playing the game before the age of 12 started experiencing CTE symptoms "an average of 13 years earlier than those who started after 12."

This comes four months after a separate Boston University study suggested that repeated hits to the head -- even ones that are not diagnosed as concussions -- can lead to CTE. And it comes amid the NFL's continued efforts to confront its ongoing health crisis.

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