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Age of First Exposure to Football Evaluated

Transl Psychiatry; ePub 2017 Sep 19; Alosco, et al

Younger age of first exposure (AFE) to football, before age 12 in particular, was associated with increased odds for impairment in self-reported neuropsychiatric and executive function in 214 former American football players, a recent study found. Researchers examined the association between AFE to football and behavior, mood, and cognition in a large cohort (n=214) of former amateur and professional football players. Participants completed the Brief Test of Adult Cognition by Telephone (BTACT), and self-reported measures of executive function and behavioral regulation (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version Metacognition Index [MI], Behavioral Regulation Index [BRI]), depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale [CES-D]), and apathy (Apathy Evaluation Scale [AES]). They found:

  • Multivariate mixed-effect regressions controlling for age, education, and duration of play showed AFE to football before age 12 corresponded with >2 × increased odds for clinically impaired scores on all measures but BTACT.
  • Younger AFE predicted increased odds for clinical impairment on the AES and CES-D.
  • There was no interaction between AFE and highest level of play.


Alosco ML, Kasimis AB, Stamm JM, et al. Age of first exposure to American football and long-term neuropsychiatric and cognitive outcomes. [Published online ahead of print September 19, 2017]. Transl Psychiatry. doi:10.1038/tp.2017.197.

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