The Brain on Youth Sports

This week's review investigates safety in youth contact sports, looking at the impact of repetitive brain trauma and the vulnerability of youthful brains.

The Brain on Youth Sports: The Science, the Myths, and the Future

Stamm, Julie M. Rowman & Littlefield, 2021
248p bibl index, 9781538143193 $30.00, 9781538143209 $28.50

The Brain on Youth Sports: The Science, the Myths, and the Future book cover. Title written in navy, uppercase letters on a light blue background. Below the title is a brain wrapped in tape.

This well-researched, thoroughly sourced work focuses on the dangers of repetitive brain trauma, particularly in youth contact sports. The chapter organization and accessible format shows a particular strength. The text begins by explaining the pros and cons of youth contact sports participation and why people should care about youth brain injuries. Much of the book centers on the science behind current understandings of several types of traumatic brain injury, arguing that any type of repetitive subconcussive head impact, even those not at the level of concussion or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), can have a lasting, long-term impact on the brain. Another strength of this book is in the author’s clear explanations of the science that informs current understanding of brain injuries, how those injuries happen, and why youthful brains are vulnerable during development. The author deftly dismantles common arguments and myths used by some in defending the current version of youth sports. A primary takeaway is that although people might not know everything, they do know enough to take the threat of brain injury seriously at the youth level and need to make changes now. This book offers practical solutions for doing just that and is important for anyone concerned about safety in youth sports.

Summing Up: Essential. All readers.
Reviewer: A. Curtis, Lake Erie College
Subject: Science & Technology – Sports & Recreation
Choice Issue: Dec 2022

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