Jan 29, 2015
Concussion Experts Talk Tackle

Over 100 medical experts from around the world gathered at the Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Zurich, Switzerland Thursday and Friday. At the event, Robert Cantu, MD, Chief of Neurosurgery at Emerson Hospital and Co-Director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, urged youth sports organizations to outlaw tackling in football, heading in soccer, and body-checking in ice hockey for athletes younger than 14.
At the event, which is backed by the International Olympic Committee and held once every four years, Cantu said children under 14 were vulnerable to a ”bobble-head doll effect” because for that age group, the head is typically disproportionately large for the relative strength of the neck.

”It’s best not to have blows on the head under the age of 14,” Cantu told The Associated Press. ”The bottom line is that we need to make sports safer for our children.

”I am concerned about what we know about repetitive head trauma,” he added. ”I am not anti-football–I just want them to play flag football until the age of 14. I think, over time, it will happen.”

Cantu also detailed the current collaborative research among Boston, Harvard and Pennsylvania Universities that are studying former NFL players, aged 40 to 69, who were exposed to a high risk of concussions compared to a 50 athletes with no recognized head trauma injuries to identify biomarkers of the degenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Researchers will examine samples of spinal fluid and electrical activity around a patient’s brain.

”It is huge because I hope, out of it, we can make a diagnosis of CTE in living individuals,” said Cantu. ”We don’t know the true incidence and prevalence [of CTE] today. So much more work is going to be necessary to understand it.”


I would love to see the restrictions that he would set on cheerleading regarding stunting and age due to the numbers of concussions in cheerleading.
– Valerie Rice

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