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Beyond concussions: football-related hits impact brain’s white matter

football-playersBrains of Foot­ball Play­ers Don’t Fully Recover Dur­ing Off­sea­son, Study Finds (Edu­ca­tion Week):

Some foot­ball play­ers’ brains may not fully recover from hits endured even after six months of no-contact rest dur­ing the off­sea­son… imag­ing scans showed changes in white mat­ter con­sis­tent with mild brain injury in about half the play­ers, despite the fact that none of them had suf­fered a concussion…“At this point we don’t know the impli­ca­tions, but there is a valid con­cern that six months of no-contact rest may not be enough for some play­ers. And the real­ity of high school, col­lege and pro­fes­sional ath­let­ics is that most play­ers don’t actu­ally rest dur­ing the off-season. They con­tinue to train and push them­selves and pre­pare for the next season.”

Study: Per­sis­tent, Long-term Cere­bral White Mat­ter Changes after Sports-Related Repet­i­tive Head Impacts (PLOS One)

  • Con­clu­sions: A sin­gle foot­ball sea­son of repet­i­tive head impacts (RHIs) with­out clinically-evident con­cus­sion resulted in white mat­ter (WM) changes that cor­re­lated with mul­ti­ple hel­met impact mea­sures and per­sisted fol­low­ing 6 months of no-contact rest. This lack of white mat­ter recov­ery could poten­tially con­tribute to cumu­la­tive WM changes with sub­se­quent RHI exposures.

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