By Ken Reed

Football and hockey players who complete their seasons without suffering a concussion still show measurable brain damage according to a new study.

College football and hockey players had notable changes in brain structure and cognitive performance which their fellow athletes in non-contact sports such as track, cross-country skiing and crew didn’t have according to a report in the journal Neurology.

According to Melissa Healy, writing in the Los Angeles Times:

“The findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that a season-long succession of small hits — none hard enough to cause evident disorientation or draw medical attention — may prompt changes in the brain that cause problems with memory, mood or mental performance years down the road.”

The takeaway is multiple sub-concussive blows to the brain may be just as damaging long-term as concussions. Safety initiatives can’t just focus on concussion awareness and return-to-play guidelines following concussions.

“The management and detection of concussion is obviously important,” Thomas McAllister, a psychiatrist at Indiana University and the study’s lead author said. “But may not be sufficient.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans</strong>


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