Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Study: Brain impairment in high school football

Just a matter of time before high school football players were diagnosed with the same sort of brain injuries discovered in college and pro athletes, I wrote this morning.

Looks like that prediction was a day late.

From today's Chicago Tribune:

Of 21 high school players monitored for a full season by a team of researchers from Purdue University, four players who were never diagnosed with concussions were found to have suffered brain impairment that was at least as bad as that of other players who had been deemed concussed and removed from play.

"They're not exhibiting any outward sign and they're continuing to play," said Thomas Talavage, an associate professor at the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue and the lead researcher on the study. "The cognitive impairment that we observed with them is actually worse than the one observed with the concussed players."

The report, published in the latest edition of the Journal of Neurotrauma, found that some players received more than 1,800 hits to the head during practices and games, some with a force 20 times greater than what a person would feel while riding a roller coaster.

1 comment:

Cal said...

I'm wondering why there isn't a recommendation that players (and coaches) stop tapping other players on the head, as is done in either a congratulatory or a "keep your chin up" type manner. I know the force of these "love taps" aren't nowhere near those done during actual plays, but with what we don't know about brain injuries... why not be on the safe side?

This would apply to baseball celebrations after home runs also. I see players in MLB getting pounded on the head during these celebrations. I'm sure that's why many of them throw the helmets off before they get to home plate, so that the teammates might give them punches on the body and not tap their heads.

And I still see players headbutting in football as they prepare for a game, or even after they score a touchdown. I've seen Tom Brady do it this season with a receiver who caught a TD pass. Players should be dissuaded from this ritual also.