Beware! Playing football at college-level may affect brain

| Updated: Dec 01, 2016 20:01 IST

Washington DC [US], Dec. 1 (ANI): Beware! If you play football at college-level, then you may be vulnerable to the effects of head trauma as even after years of graduation, football players continue to show evidence of neuropathic brain changes, says a study. The findings have been published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. Researchers from University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine in the New York conducted the study in which MRI scans of 11 former collegiate football players showed the evidence of significantly lower cortical thickness within portions of both the frontal and temporal cortex of the brain, versus a similar group of track-and-field athletes. In many areas of the brain, decreased cortical thickness correlated with the number of reported concussions and was not confined to professional players only. Over 60,000 students play intercollegiate football, and according to NCAA statistics, the sport accounts for more injuries than any other at the collegiate level. "We found evidence of persistent cortical thinning in some former collegiate football players several years after the end of their active playing career," said co-principal investigator of the study, Cal Adler. "The former football players on an average showed lower cortical thickness across prefrontal and temporal brain regions--areas of the brain involved in sustained attention, memory and executive abilities--cognitive domains critical to long-term professional and social function," Adler added. The study further suggested that at least some consequences of high-level collegiate football play may persist years after an athlete has hung up the uniform. "In this study, we saw evidence of correlations between the number of reported concussions and the extent of persistent thinning throughout the prefrontal and temporal cortex in the scans of these former college players," Adler explained. (ANI)