CTE concerns: ‘Should I let my kids play football or other contact sports?’

Following the results of Aaron Hernandez's brain study, a lot of parents are asking, "Should I let my kids play football or other contact sports?" (WJAR)

The NFL vowed it will "vigorously" fight a lawsuit brought by relatives of Aaron Hernandez after an autopsy of his brain revealed that he had severe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which is the degenerative brain disease linked to repeated head hits.

Doctors at Boston University's Center for CTE on Thursday released the results of the study on the former New England Patriots star, following his death by suicide in April.

Now, a lot of parents are asking, "Should I let my kids play football or other contact sports?"

A lot of companies are trying to come up with equipment to prevent these injuries all together.

Experts like Bill White, who is the president of Brain in Play International in Warwick, are studying the brain to help better understand brain injuries.

"We'll get more answers and be able to probably distinguish at some point perhaps who may be susceptible than another,” he said.

White went on to say that younger brains, especially those in children younger than high school age, are more susceptible to brain injuries, as they have yet to develop.

"There's chapters in here for coaches, for parents, and for athletes, quite frankly,” White said of a book he co-authored.

The book, "Winning the War Against Concussions in Youth Sports," seeks to educate people on how brain injuries occur, as well as how to best try to prevent them.

There have been many advancements in football helmet technology, but White said helmets aren't going to prevent degenerative brain injuries like CTE.

"Helmets were designed for the basic prevention of skull fracture,” White said. “While there may be some marginal reduction in force with these new-age helmets that are coming out, it's not the answer. It's not going to prevent the big hits from happening."

White also said that some of the symptoms of head injuries, especially CTE, are slow developing. He added that it's always better to be safe and see a doctor if you think a head injury might be present.

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