Playing Football Does Not Cause Brain Damage

There is no link between years of high school football played and neurocognitive decline, according to research conducted by Dr. Gregory Stewart at the Tulane University School of Medicine.

Researchers retrospectively reviewed data obtained between 1998 and 2001 of 1,289 high school football players in New Orleans. The data consisted of years of participation in football, age, concussion history, and scores on common neuropsychological tests. The tests included digit symbol substitutions (DSS), pure reaction time (PRT), and choice reaction time (CRT). Only 4 percent of the athletes in the study suffered a concussion.

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There was no correlation between history of concussion and the neurocognitive tests, despite adding it to the model also including years of participation. There was also no correlation simply between years of football participation and the neurocognitive effects.

“The correlation between the number of years of football participation and the performance on the digit symbol substitution test does not support the hypothesis that participation in a collision sport negatively affects neurocognitive function,” says Stewart. “The implication is that the playing of football is not in and of itself detrimental.”

These results were presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) in New Orleans on March 14.

 

 

 

Source: “STUDY FINDS NO LINK BETWEEN YEARS OF HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAY AND NEUROCOGNITIVE DECLINE.” States News Service 2014: Academic OneFile. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.

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