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After a season of college football, portions of players’ brains can show worrying signs of damage, even if they did not experience a concussion, according to a timely new study of contact sports and brain health. The study, which concentrated on changes to white matter in players’ brains, amplifies growing concerns about the effects of repeated, subconcussive hits to the head and whether we are doing enough to protect athletes from knocks that once might have seemed minor.

Few athletes, parents, coaches, fans or researchers involved with football — and other contact sports, including soccer, lacrosse and hockey — are unaware of the evidence linking sports-related concussions and later cognitive problems, including, at the extreme, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a form of degenerative dementia.

But many sports-related hits to the head do not cause concussions, a condition that, by definition, is a cluster of symptoms. Someone with a concussion might lose consciousness, have a headache, feel dizzy or disoriented, be unable to follow a moving finger with his or her eyes, and hear ringing in the ears after a resounding hit to the head.

…continue reading ‘Football May Take a Toll on the Brain, Even Without Concussions’

Image: By U.S. Navy photo by Damon J. Moritz. (RELEASED) – navy.mil, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4074997

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New York Times

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