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This is what football can do to a child's brain after just one season

The results of a new study may have some parents rethinking whether they allow their children to play football.

>> Watch the news report here

Three million children in the U.S. play in tackle football programs. While many doctors and scientists have taken a look at the impact of concussions, new research by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center studied the impact of less-serious blows to the head that are common during games.

The study included 25 players between the ages of 8 and 13 and was centered on a youth program in Winston-Salem, N.C. Each boy was outfitted with a helmet that measured the severity and frequency of head blows.

“This is important, particularly for children, because their brains are undergoing such rapid change, particularly in the age category from maybe 9 to 18. And we just don’t know a lot of about it,” Dr. Chris Whitlow, a lead researcher, told NBC News.

Researchers say their findings indicated that even at this young age, the boys were receiving pretty hard hits.

The doctors then performed MRIs on the players and determined there were some changes in the brain’s white matter, the tissue that connects the gray matter of the brain.

“We have detected some changes in the white matter,” Whitlow said. “And the importance of those changes is that the more exposure you have to head impacts, the more change you have.”

Young players who did not have concussions were also found to have been impacted by repeated hits. Brain changes were found even after a single season of playing the sport.

>> Read more trending stories

So far, doctors are not cautioning parents against letting their children play football since there are still some unclear areas following the study. Doctors don’t know if these changes will continue as the boys play football. They also don’t know what long-term impact the repeated blows to the head will have on the players.

Still, some parents say the sport is worth the risk — for now — because of the joy it brings to their children. Football also encourages their kids to stay on top of their grades.

Kindra Ritzie-Worthy has two sons who play football. She says they take their footballs everywhere they go. One even sleeps with his ball.

“Worth the risk?” she told NBC. “I say absolutely.”

The study is published in the journal Radiology.

Making Strides!

Rachel Platten!

Rachel Platten!

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Keith @ Making Strides Pinellas!

Rachel Platten Contest

This week, Chadd & Kristi and Keith are giving you the chance to win tickets to see Rachel Platten on Saturday, October 22nd at Al Lang Stadium, following the Tampa Bay Rowdies' final game of the season!

Just listen to The Magic Morning Show with Chadd & Kristi and middays with Keith Connors all week long for your chance to win!

Call (800) 850-0949

And on the Magic 94.9 App, register for your chance to win a Rachel Platten VIP package! Including 2 VIP Rowdies game tickets to see Rachel Platten, 2 Meet and Greet Passes to meet Rachel Platten and 2 Tampa Bay Rowdies T-shirts!

Don't have the Magic 94.9 App? Click here to download it to your mobile device!

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh names homecoming queen during recruiting trip

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh kept busy during the Wolverines’ bye week — he announced the homecoming queen at a California high school game.

>> Read more trending stories

ESPN reported that Harbaugh was on a recruiting trip at Antioch High School to see highly recruited running back Najee Harris, who is committed to Alabama. 

Harbaugh attended Antioch’s homecoming game against Liberty High School, and school officials asked him to announce the homecoming queen at halftime, ESPN reported.

Harbaugh called the name of Tatiana Mendez as the crowd roared.

Harbaugh said he'd never been asked to handle the microphone during a recruiting visit.

"That was an all-time first for me," Harbaugh told ESPN. "That was really cool." 

Special needs student in Utah scores touchdown

A special needs student in Utah got to live an athletic dream on Thursday night, scoring a touchdown on the second-half kickoff for his high school football team.

>> Read more trending stories

Brian Herrera attends Cottonwood High School in Murray, located in suburban Salt Lake City. He is a special needs student and has known senior Alex Hart since the pair attended junior high school.

"I'd say, 'What's up dude?' and I'd fist bump him," Hart told KSTU.

Hart and Herrera reconnected in high school and the two friends would have lunch together. They found a special connection through football. Hart is an offensive lineman for the Cottonwood Colts varsity football team.

"Every time I come off the field, I'd come off and he'd give me a hug," Hart told KSTU.

Hart went to Kailee Sandberg, Herrera’s special needs teacher, and asked if Brian could join a football class and roam the sidelines during games.

"He seems to be doing better socially, his speech is coming along better, he just is all around a happier kid, which I didn't think he could get any happier but he did," Sandberg told KSTU.

Best TD of the night! Thanks @C_WoodFootball and @TaylorsvilleHS for making this possible for Brian! #TribPreps @trevorphibbs @adonsports pic.twitter.com/KOMZECYn9u— Robyn Ivins (@partymomof5) October 14, 2016 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Thursday night, Cottonwood (1-9) played neighboring Taylorsville (3-6). The Warriors agreed to cooperate with the Colts, and leading 35-7 at the intermission, kicked the ball to Herrera to open the second half. Hart, who had been injured, came into the game for the one play and helped create a convoy for Herrera to score.

"He's just been my biggest fan, and I've been his biggest fan," Hart told KSTU.

It didn't matter that Cottonwood lost 49-14. The real winners were Hart, Herrera, and both squads.

Does it get any better than this?!? Things like this make us proud to be Colts! #ColtsAreGreat pic.twitter.com/yiErnya2fa— Cottonwood High (@CottonwoodHS) October 14, 2016 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Rachel Platten

Starting Monday, Chadd & Kristi and Keith are givng you the chance to win tickets to see Rachel Platten on Saturday, October 22nd at Al Lang Stadium, following the Tampa Bay Rowdies' final game of the season!

Just listen to The Magic Morning Show with Chadd & Kristi and middays with Keith Connors on Monday for your chance to win!

Call (800) 850-0949

And on the Magic 94.9 App, register for your chance to win a Rachel Platten VIP package! Including 2 VIP Rowdies game tickets to see Rachel Platten, 2 Meet and Greet Passes to meet Rachel Platten and 2 Tampa Bay Rowdies T-shirts!

Don't have the Magic 94.9 App? Click here to download it to your mobile device!

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