Researchers report repeated blows to the head as a result of playing youth football has implications for brain development. The study revealed players had alterations to the nerve fibers in the corpus callosum.
PET imaging of former NFL players who exhibited cognitive decline and psychiatric symptoms linked to CTE showed higher levels of tau in areas of the brain associated with the neurodegenerative disease.
Sustained hits following one season of playing football are enough to cause structural alterations to the brain. When players sustain a concussion, structural brain integrity decreases, and levels of tau increase. Researchers say, while concussions are a prime concern for those who play football, sustained hits also pose a threat to neurological health.
Study reveals there is no significant uptick in men who played high school football reporting problems with brain health in middle age compared to their peers who did not play sports. However, ex-football players were more likely to experience sleep problems and be prescribed medications for chronic pain during mid-life.
Researchers explore how changes in concussion research have impacted sports and player safety.