College football players are 5 times more likely to report cognitive impairment, 2.5 times more likely to experience recurrent headaches, and 65% more likely to have cardiovascular problems in their lifetime than their non-football playing peers. Additionally, mortality from brain and other nervous system cancers was 4 times higher in former college football players than the general population.
Researchers explore how changes in concussion research have impacted sports and player safety.
Amateur boxers, specifically those who boxed during their youth, are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who didn't.
White matter hyperintensities were more common in athletes who played more contact sports or had more head injuries and concussions during their sporting careers.
Neuroimaging study revealed a significant number of professional rugby players had white matter abnormalities and abnormal changes to white matter volume over time.
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.
Even without a concussion, repetitive impacts experienced by those who play contact sports have clear effects on the brain. Rugby players who reported no concussions had alterations in the microstructure of the brain, specifically in the brain stem. Alterations in the functional organization of the brain were also discovered in MRI images of those who played contact sports.
Varsity football players who experienced concussions performed well on cognitive tests but showed strong impairments in tests related to inhibitory control. Many reported problems with the ability to suppress thoughts, actions, and feelings following concussions. The findings shed light on the long-term implications of sports-related concussions.
Longer career length and playing specific positions put NFL players at greater risk of developing cognitive problems and mental health issues. Playing for 10 or more seasons increased the risks for depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment twice as much than those who played for a single season. For every five seasons of play, the risks increase 20% for cognitive impairment. Those most at risk are running backs, linebackers and those who played special teams positions.
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.
A new study reports teenage athletes who suffered concussion while playing sport recovered faster when they participated in a supervised aerobic exercise program.
Researchers say a single season of playing high school football is all it takes to cause microscopic alterations to the structure of the brain.