Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Football Hurts Your Brain

I've known for sometime that I would be, at best, uncomfortable with my sons playing football when they got older. Now, I think i'm going to prohibit them from playing at all:
This link is to a TERRIFIC Frontline episode on high school football, and it has a segment on brain injuries. The most frightening part is a team of doctors who set out to do a study of changes in cognitive functions of high school players in the hours and days after a concussive head injury. But there weren't any significant episodes in their first couple days so they decided to put their time to use by doing some baseline studies of cognitive functions of the players before any injury.

One of the things they learned was that there was a measurable decline in cognitive function just from the ordinary helmet-to-helmet impacts on every play, even when there was no concussion suffered by the player. They tracked this group of players for several weeks of practice, and measured the decline in their brain function - thinks like short term memory, pattern recognition, etc.  The concluded that the cumulative effect of all these sub-concussive impacts of the brain on the inside of the skull lead to the same conditions as a concussion.
Scary stuff. h/t the Dish.

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