Mom tackles CTE issue to protect kids from brain injury

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Burbank mom tackles CTE issue in kids' sports
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Kim Archie has been leading efforts to limit tackle football to kids over the age of 12 to protect them from the possibility of brain injury.

Los Angeles, Calif -- The fear of brain injuries related to football is a hot issue parents are trying to tackle.

"Kids' rights, especially in sports were lagging behind everybody," said Kim Archie, the creator of the National Cheer safety foundation.

Sports Illustrated called Kim Archie the "Erin Brockovic with a neurologist grasp of traumatic brain injuries"

"I have the unique perspective on the issue of football. I have 8,000 hours of research on football helmets and their design. I have interviewed over 1,000 former NFL players and know their playing and medical history," Archie said.

Four years ago Archie lost her 24-year-old son to a motorcycle accident.

When Boston University learned she wanted his brain scanned for CTE, they thought it was simply a grieving mother. But his brain did have CTE even though he stopped playing football at age 15.

"It was shocking. Not only did he have CTE, he had brain damage," Archie said.

Today there's no data on the testing of youth football helmets.

Archie points out there are more regulations on an NFL Halloween costume then there are on a youth helmet where kids take repetitive hits.

In April, the bill to limit kids from playing tackle football until the age of 12 was pulled back by Assembly members. A Northern California group got the support of over 130,000 parents in the youth-football community.

"We defeated the bill, said Joe Rafter - who helped organize the opposition. "We saved youth football. We protected our right to continue to choose as parents what sports our children play," he added.

Boston University studied the brains of 211 athletes with CTE. They determined if you play tackle football before the age of 12, you enhance your chances of CTE and brain disorders by 13 years.

"It's more data to suggest kids should put off playing tackle football until they're more mature - when they're not in this period of rapid brain growth," said Dr. Anne McKee, of the Boston University CTE Center.