New study sheds light on possible threat of head injuries for youth athletes

The Boston University study found repetitive smaller hits to the head, not just concussions, may cause the degenerative brain disease CTE.
2:51 | 01/19/18

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Transcript for New study sheds light on possible threat of head injuries for youth athletes
Also in kids chewables. Test Text1 italics we are back with new research for young athletes. There can be cte even if there is no concussion and Paula Faris has the details. These repeated hits called subconcussive blows is a game changer turning the conversations about cones and cte upside down. It's a stunning new study this morning out of Boston university. Showing repetitive smaller hits to the head, not just concussions, may cause cte, the degenerative brain disease notoriously plaguing a number of former NFL stars, some doctors now believe the research may have been focused on the wrong thing. The bottom line here really is the hits that count, not the concussions. Reporter: Researchers comparing four brains of teen athletes with cte and four brains of athletes with no evidence of the condition. The results were groundbreaking. While the recent major injuries played a small role, they found that smaller repeated hits known as subconcussive hits also played a role contributing to this crippling brain disease. There is the injury on the one hand and we need to be concerned about that. The injuries can occur, but it triggers a neurodegenerative disease in some cases and don't know under what circumstances. Reporter: We spoke with the family of Penn football star Owen Thomas back in 2012. He played football all his life, never suffered from any concussions but did have several subconcussive hits. At just 21 years old he committed suicide. Doctors later finding out he was suffering with early stages of cte. When they asked for his brain, I said, well, he never had any concussions. I didn't think they'd find anything. I was sure they wouldn't find anything but I thought, well, we'll do what we can to help the research or whatever. I was just astounded that they found krt. Reporter: Subcon cuss sink hits like the one he suffered are not just limited@ to football. They affect every athlete that plays impact sports. Again, let's emphasize that. We are talking about every athlete across the board that plays impact sports will be affected. A little illustration. This full glass of water, let's say this represents a concussion and the full impact and effects. Subconcussive hits like a little hit here and another hit and another hit and pretty soon you have a full glass and have the same effect of a concussion so it's that residual effect. I think playing any of these contact sports and more than just football, but it's a calculated risk you have to take as an athlete. Do you play or you don't. A lot of types I've asked you would you still play. Absolutely. Many do say that they would.

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