By Ken Reed

The case against football, based on growing evidence that the sport is dangerous to the human brain, continues to get stronger.

The latest research report on football and brain trauma is published in The Journal of the American Medical Association this week.

The findings aren’t pretty for America’s favorite game. A group of 25 college football players with no history of reported concussions had hippocampuses (an area of the brain critical for memory and emotional control) that were 14 percent, on average, smaller than those of a control group of 25 males of similar age and health who didn’t play contact sports. In addition, another group of 25 players, this time with at least one clinically-diagnosed concussion, had, on average, 25 percent smaller hippocampuses than the control group.

“The effect size was really large,” said Patrick Bellgowan, the study’s lead researcher. “It was really surprising.”

Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising any longer. The stack of research papers showing football’s negative impact on the brain may not be a mountain yet, but it’s certainly much bigger than a molehill.

For a good recap of recent research, see Patrick Hruby’s SportsOnEarth article.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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