Football And Brain Injury - Is The Danger Overhyped?

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All sports come with some degree of risk. But in recent popular perception, it's hard to separate the words "football" from "brain injury". In the light of a new research study, doubters and critics may see the results as a green light in support of football's rough-and-tumble nature. Yet, even the study's scientists are cautious about drawing definite conclusions about the sport and long-term brain health.

Brain Injury: Head Blows And Long-Term Damage

Over the years, other studies show that football players figure high on the list of athletes who suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). This progressive, degenerative brain disease occurs with repeated blows to the head. Those who develop the disease may experience memory loss, depression, dementia and a host of other psychological and mental impacts.

The Aggressive Evolution Of Football?

In the recent study, the researchers pulled data involving over 3,900 male high-school graduates, collected back in Wisconsin in 1957. Decades later, researchers follow up with the participants, now 65 years old. The results were interesting: No noticeable difference in depression and cognition in the participants who had played football in their last year of high school compared to those who had not. The players were even found to have even fewer incidents of depression than the non-players.

Need For Further Study

While the results may strongly suggest that football does not pose as great a risk as it may seem, the researchers caution against jumping to quick conclusions.

Dylan Small, one of the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, points out a number of possible explanations for the surprising results. Almost half a century separated the original data from the recent survey. The results did not track any additional years that participants played the sport before or since, nor did it include an analysis of other health records. It's also possible that football was a much tamer game over half a century ago than it is now.

Whatever the case, further research is needed. Meanwhile, instead of assuming that depression or cognitive trouble is an irreversible effect of playing contact sports, players are wise to continue seeking treatment if they experience mental health or cognitive problems.

Gluckstein Lawyers encourages healthy and positive physical activity - always with safety as priority #1.

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