As if one needs anymore reasons to closely monitor children engaged in contact sports like football, soccer, and mixed-martial arts, a new study warns children with even relatively mild concussions can have persistent attention and memory problems a year after their injuries, according to a study that helps identify which kids may be most at risk for lingering symptoms.

In most kids with these injuries, symptoms resolve within a few months but the study results suggest that problems may linger for up to about 20 percent, said study author Keith Owen Yeates, a neuropsychologist at Ohio State University’s Center for Biobehaviorial Health.

Problems like forgetfulness were more likely to linger than fatigue, dizziness and other physical complaints, the study found.

Forgetfulness, difficulty paying attention, headaches and fatigue were more common in study children who lost consciousness or who had other mild head trauma that caused brain abnormalities on imaging tests, compared with kids who didn’t get knocked out or who had normal imaging test results.

Is it football really worth all of these potential side-effects?

Oh no, some may say, what’s wrong with kids playing football? Many men who play professional and collegially exclaim proudly about how much football teaches young boys structure, discipline, sportsmanship, and teamwork. And they are right! Those are all great virtues that football can teach youngsters but they can learn those same qualities on a science team or family camping trip.

All this is great, but all these positive effects of football pale in comparison to very real threat of concussions.

Most children studied had concussions from playing sports or from falls. About 20 percent had less common mild brain trauma from traffic accidents and other causes.

Concussions involve a blow to the head that jostles the brain against the skull, although imaging scans typically show no abnormalities. Other mild brain trauma can cause tissue damage visible on these scans.

The study included 186 children aged 8 to 15 with mild concussions and other mild brain injuries treated at two hospitals, in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. The reports are based on parents’ reports of symptoms up to 12 months after the injuries.

Overall, 20 percent – 15 children – who lost consciousness had lingering forgetfulness or other non-physical problems a year after their injury; while 20 percent who had abnormal brain scans – six kids – had lingering headaches or other physical problems three months after being injured.

The results were published online Monday in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Still don’t think it’s not serious, watch this video and focus on the child in black #68 jersey at 14 second mark. Ain’t nothing glorious about a bouncing back from a concussion:

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