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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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