Common sense results

by Anthony Bradley
Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2011, at 4:20 pm

From time to time I like to survey new health studies to add to the long list of things to say "oops" to. I found three interesting studies from the past month or so that I have to share. According to the latest research, I am glad I didn't do any of the following: play high school football, head soccer balls, and eat fast food as a child. (My family ate nearly all of our meals at home-thanks Mom!)

First, according to a new study, high school football players have a high risk for strokes. Jared R. Brosch and Meredith R. Golomb examined teens who had suffered a stroke and discovered a high correlation with playing football. Bioscholar reports that researchers found "some of the potential risks include an increase of hyperventilation, repeated neurological injury, use of anabolic steroids, use of highly caffeinated energy drinks and an increase in obesity of young players."

Second, one of the coolest tricks in soccer is to watch a player score a goal by heading the ball pass the goalie. But heading the ball may not ever be a safe way to play the game. New research indicates that it may, in fact, lead to brain damage. Researchers used an MRI machine to analyze changes in brain activity of 32 adult amateur soccer players who headed balls 436 times a year on average. Those players that headed the ball 1,000 or more times a year presented abnormalities similar to traumatic brain injuries suffered in car accidents. That can't be good.

Finally, we know that childhood obesity is a major problem in the United States and that children today eat fast food more than any previous generation. Unfortunately, all of the quick and easy food given to kids these days may be shortening their lives. The Northwest Indiana Times reports a new study from Northwestern University where researchers sampled thousands of teens, ages 12 to 19, and found that "they are more likely to die from heart disease at a younger age than today's adults." This means that today's teenagers are expected to have more heart-disease-related deaths than previous generations. This should not come as a surprise.

How can we summarize the moral of these health studies? I was thinking of this: Use common sense. Getting big really fast for sports may not be worth it in the long run, God didn't make our heads to hit things, like balls, with it, and eating bad food is bad for your health. This is may seem like basic common sense but it's become the American way to fund studies to tell us things that we already know.

Anthony Bradley

Anthony is associate professor of religious studies at The King's College in New York and a research fellow at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.

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