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Could one season of youth football affect a child's brain?

Millions of children suit up every year to play youth football, but a new study raised concerns about the impact on their brains after playing a single season.

>> Read more trending stories  

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center analyzed the number of hits to the head that a player likely received over the course of a season. They suited up 25 players with helmets with sensors inside to measure the frequency and severity of the impacts.

The researchers recorded every hit at every practice and in every game, monitoring to make sure they were contact hits and not players dropping a helmet.

Researchers analyzed brain images before and after the season.

Dr. Chris Whitlow, an associate professor and chief of neuroradiology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the study's lead author, said there were changes in the brain’s white matter, which he defined as "the different wires that connect the different parts of the brain for function to take place."

The more hits the head took, the more change doctors said they saw.

"These are not changes you would be able to see with your naked eye," Whitlow said. "These are very, very subtle changes."

Whitlow said there are still many unanswered questions and parents shouldn't be alarmed.

"There's a lot of things we don't know," Whitlow said. "We don't know if they persist. We don't know if they go away after the season. We don't know if there are even more changes if people play multiple seasons."

Those answers could be years away. Researchers say more information is needed to understand whether the changes could lead to negative long-term health issues.

Man dies after falling from railing at Denver Broncos game

A man who fell 60 feet from a railing Monday night during a Denver Broncos game at the city's Sports Authority Field at Mile High has died, police said Tuesday.

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Jason Coy, 36, died of blunt-force trauma, according to a report from the Denver Medical Examiner's Office obtained by The Denver Post.

Police are investigating Coy's death as a non-traffic accident, in line with standard procedure in similar cases. Investigators believe that Coy was sitting on a railing when he lost his balance and fell into a stairwell.

A Denver Fire Department spokesman told The Post that Coy fell around 9:45 p.m., after the game against the Houston Texans ended.

Witnesses and emergency personnel responded after Coy fell, according to police, and he was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. He was later pronounced dead.

The Broncos offered condolences to Coy's family in a statement released Tuesday.

"The Denver Broncos are extremely saddened to learn that Jason Coy, the fan who fell over a stairwell railing at Monday night's game, has passed away," the statement said. "Along with Stadium Management Co., we extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and friends.

"Providing a safe, enjoyable environment for guests at Sports Authority Field at Mile High is the top priority for the Broncos and SMC. We're reviewing this tragic incident and will continue to maintain all necessary safety measures for our fans."

Police are investigating to determine what led to the fall.

Black high school football player allegedly attacked with noose in Mississippi

The NAACP is calling for a federal investigation following an alleged noose attack at Stone County High School in Wiggins, Mississippi.

A black high school student said he was attacked by multiple students before football practice on Oct. 13. The white students reportedly placed a noose around the black student’s neck and “yanked backward,” according to John Feaster, the football coach at Stone County, told that only one individual was involved in the incident – not a group – and that player is no longer with the team.

>> Read more trending stories

However, Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, said the victim's parents have not been told of any disciplinary action taken against the students responsible.

The principal at Stone County and representatives from the school district declined to comment, but Feaster told ESPN that it’s “sad” there are still things like this happening in 2016.

“”Trust me. I understand. I’m an African-American male, and I was born and raised in Mississippi,” Feaster said. “It’s sad that something like this happens in 2016. I just pray we can get it together.”

(h/t Complex)

Patriots' Rob Gronkowski goes undercover as Lyft driver

Some lucky New Englanders got chauffeured around town by the one and only Gronk recently. 

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski went undercover as a Lyft driver to surprise unsuspecting New Englanders. 

>> Read more trending stories 

In the YouTube video posted by Lyft, many of his passengers didn't seem to know it was him and discussed everything from figure skating to putting lotion on Tom Brady. 

One passenger even said he had met Gronk at a bar downtown, before Gronk took off the wig and informed him Gronk hadn't been to that bar. #Oops.

There was no word on what kind of driver rating he got. 

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.

During Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protest, a police officer made a statement of his own

During Sunday’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills, San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick continued his silent protest against racial inequality by kneeling for the national anthem along with outside linebacker Eli Harold and free safety Eric Reid.

>> See the photo here

While Kaepernick and his teammates kneeled, a police officer stood behind the group, saluting the flag as the anthem played.

While the officer’s action served as a subtle response to Kaepernick’s protest, the reactions of other Bills fans toward Kaepernick was not-so-subtle.

>> Read more trending stories

Others, however, showed their support for the 49ers quarterback.

SEE IT: Patriots fans turn Gillette Stadium pink for breast cancer awareness

Gillette Stadium was a sea of pink at the Patriots-Bengals game Sunday. 

At the end of the first quarter, fans held up pink pieces of paper. One section's papers made the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon.

>> Read more trending stories

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

>> Watch the moment here

WATCH: Samford football player Deion Pierre pops the question in epic postgame proposal

This weekend’s best college football moment in the state of Alabama had nothing to do with the Alabama Crimson Tide or Auburn Tigers.

No, that title goes to the Samford Bulldogs.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Samford, which is a Birmingham-based FCS program that will play at Mississippi State on Oct. 29, took care of Virginia Military Institute 55-21 for its third consecutive victory on Saturday. But even that had little to do with the moment of the week, which goes to Bulldogs LB Deion Pierre for the postgame proposal he orchestrated for his girlfriend.

>> Read more trending stories

You can check out the whole thing here, but be warned that it’s sure to tug at your heartstrings:

>> Click here to watch

Teammates broke out into a chant after the successful proposal: “She said yes! She said yes!”

“I won twice today,” Pierre can be heard saying in the video. Indeed, Deion. Indeed.

Former NFL player, Auburn defensive star Quentin Groves dead at 32

Former NFL defensive lineman and Auburn standout Quentin Groves, 32, died Saturday.

The cause of death has not been officially confirmed, though  according to SB Nation, Groves suffered a heart attack. During the 2008 NFL combine, he was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which caused a rapid heartbeat. After a minor surgical procedure, Groves was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

>> Read more trending stories

Groves spent two years at Jacksonville, and then played for several teams, including the Raiders, Browns and Titans. He last played in the regular season in 2014.

At Auburn, Groves was an All-SEC star, tying the school's career sack record at 26 and setting a single-game record with four sacks.

CBS cuts to commercial in mid-play during Thursday’s NFL game

Someone in the CBS control booth had an itchy finger for a man with a plan during Thursday night’s NFL game between the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos. 

>> Read more trending stories 

According to Bleacher Report, San Diego led 16-3 with 4:25 left in the third quarter and was facing 3rd-and-11 at the Denver 35 yard-line. Just before the snap, CBS cut to a commercial for its new comedy, “Man With A Plan,” starring Matt LeBlanc. 

Viewers missed a pass interference call against Denver, which gave the Chargers a first down at the Broncos’ 20. That led to a Josh Lambo field goal that gave San Diego a 19-3 lead. 

San Diego went on to win 21-13. 

what is this @cbs— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) October 14, 2016<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

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