At this point, what insane holdouts still refuse to believe that football– a game in which gigantic men repeatedly slam into each other as hard as they can–causes brain damage? If you know any such people, point them towards this new research out of Johns Hopkins, which provides evidence (again) that repeated head injuries in football players poses a serious neurological risk.
The study, which had an admittedly small sample size, showed that former NFL players–at least one who reported never having had a concussion before– showed evidence of brain damage when compared to their same-age, non-NFL peers. The most damaged regions included the amygdala, which helps regulate mood, and the supramarginal gyrus, which is involved in verbal memory. The players also performed poorly on cognitive tests.
“We’re hoping that our findings are going to further inform the game,” Jennifer Coughlin, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins, told the Hopkins Hub. “That may mean individuals are able to make more educated decisions about whether they’re susceptible to brain injury, advise how helmets are structured, or inform guidelines for the game to better protect players.”
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