School of Education News

UW-Madison’s Stamm talks to Parents magazine about risks of playing football

September 17, 2019

UW-Madison’s Julie Stamm, a clinical assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Kinesiology, talked to Parents magazine about making the decision on whether to let your kid play football. 

The longer people play football, the greater the risks, Stamm explained. “Some people say, ‘Oh, they’re just playing as a kid’ but if you start at 8 and play until you are 18, that’s 10 years of repeated head impact.”

Julie Stamm
While youth participation in football has been declining, questions about the sport’s safety are rising as more than a million will still participate in youth and college teams this season. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated hits to the head, has become a prevalent fear in recent years, according to Parents magazine.

Stamm explains that, despite the publicity of CTE, doctors are unable to understand why one person gets it and another does not. It is also misunderstood how common CTE is. A 2017 study found CTE in more than 80 percent of football players, but Stamm reports that the sample may have not been adequate. 

Although there is no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet, Stamm tells Parents magazine that having proper headgear can lower risks. She also advises parents to be aware of the signs of concussion, which include dizziness, erratic mood swings, headaches, confusion, and sensitivity to light. 

Read the Parents magazine article here

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