Tackle football before age 12 may boost risks of cognitive, mood disorders (Ars Technica):
Taking hard knocks early in life could shove football players toward neurological problems later, a new study suggests.
Among 214 former amateur and professional male football players, those who started playing earlyparticularly before the age of 12had greater risks of reporting depression and impaired behavioral regulation and executive function around their 50s, researchers foundCompared with those who started later, players that started earlier than age 12 had more than twice the odds for having clinically meaningful impairments in reported behavioral regulation, apathy and executive function and more than three times the odds of having clinically elevated depression scores. The links held up when the researchers looked at a continuum of starting times
There are several limitations of the study, of course, including that it only has the power to note correlations, not causations.