Alarming Brain Changes Seen in High School Football Players after One Season

Posted 01/30/2015 | By HealthCorps

A recent study suggests that high school football players, show brain changes after a single season of play time, even when a concussion did not occur.  This study adds to prior studies and reports that have been published in recent years, suggesting the possible negative outcome certain youth sports can have on the developing brain.

In this study, all the players had a pre and post season evaluation with specific brain studies, advanced MRI imaging, of all 24 subjects.  The subjects were divided into ‘light hitters’ and “heavy hitters.”  Though both groups showed changes in the post-season imaging studies, the heavy hitters had more significant changes, with small but worrisome losses in the brain’s white matter.  These kinds of changes have been associated with mild traumatic brain injury.  It’s still unclear if the changes in the high school students are associated with any long-term consequences.

Parents need to assess the benefits of sports and exercise activities with the dangers they may pose.  Contact sports appear to have significantly increased risks.

-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach

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