Purdue researchers find minor head blows add up for football players

In a nutshell, researchers found that even the mundane collisions in football---even the celebratory head butt---can impact the brain.

Purdue researchers have found that minor blows to the head add up over time and hamper the brain.

The Purdue study, which is expected to be published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, was cited prominently in a Sports Illustrated special report on concussions in football.

In a nutshell, researchers found that even the mundane collisions in football---even the celebratory head butt---can impact the brain. SI outlined how the test was conducted on high school players in Indiana:

Before the 2009 football season the group of Purdue engineering professors, athletic trainers and graduate students fitted 23 of the Broncos' helmets with accelerometers and gave players both the ImPACT test—a computerized neurocognitive exam that tests memory and concentration—and tests of working memory while their brains were monitored with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The idea was to establish a baseline for each player against which he could be reexamined after a concussion.

What researchers found is that even players without any concussion symptoms showed problems with memory tests. The good news: The high school players tested seemed to recover once the hitting stopped.

Related: SI on concussions

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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