SPEAK OUT! NewsBit . . . . . . . . . . . . Football – Is It Dangerous to Your Brain?
Football May Affect the Brain
The Journal of the American Medical Association has recently published a study of the brains of 25 University of Tulsa (TU) football players without a known concussion, 25 TU players known to have at least one concussion, and 25 college students who are non-players. The study showed that there was a correlation of years of playing football with differences in behavior and brain anatomy. The researchers found that football players had slower reaction times, and the reaction time was directly related to the length of time an individual played football. The researchers also found that the hippocampus in football players was smaller than it was in non-players. The hippocampus is a part of the brain whose volume is related to memory and emotion. Even players who did not have a concussion had a hippocampus that was smaller than it was in non-players, but there was a greater decrease in volume in those players who had had a concussion. This study does not prove that playing football causes a reduction of hippocampus volume, but it is suggestive. The researchers want to know what causes the smaller hippocampus. David Polanski, head athletic trainer at TU and a co-author on the study, said. “This research brings us one step closer to understanding the connection between contact sports and brain injury.” (Full story 1 and Full story 2)