According to researchers, high school football players demonstrated significant changes to their brain structures following one season of games and practice, even though they were not clinically diagnosed with concussions. A doctor from Wake Forest School of Medicine said earlier this month that the imaging study found that increased impacts to the head throughout the course of one football season is positively associated with white matter changes in the brain. However, he cautioned that it is still unclear as to whether the effects will have any long-term consequences on the players.
Additionally, his group of researchers found that players sustained more head impacts during practices than in actual competitive games.
The study involved fitting 40 high school football players from one team with specially designed helmets that recorded each impact. The helmets caught enough data to organize the players into two groups: 15 light hitters and nine heavy hitters based on the severity and number of head bumps recorded by the program. To ensure that the system reflected actual football related brain injuries and not just a helmet being thrown or dropped on the ground, researchers also videotaped the practices and games.
According to researchers, this particular study is unique because unlike most brain injury evaluations that analyze professional athletes, this one followed high school football players. However, the study did not indicate a control group, so researchers do not know whether similar changes in the white brain matter may be seen in other teenagers as part of normal development and growth.
The importance of studying the effects of football related brain injuries and trauma has become the focal point of many media outlets. In 2014, attorneys acting on behalf of players in the National Football League filed a lawsuit against the organization, alleging that NFL officials forced them to continue playing games after they sustained traumatic football related brain injuries and concussions. As a result, several members and former players are currently living with lifelong complications and debilitating injuries including permanent brain damage, financial losses, chronic conditions, medical expenses and a decreased quality of life.
Are You Suffering From Football Related Brain Injuries?
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