Dr. Bill shares new research on college football players and concussions. Show Notes

Friday, May 23, 2014 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier

A new study is out looking at football players and brain injuries, and this one looked at COLLEGE athletes. 

Dennis Dodd at CBSSports.com is reporting on new research showing that college football players who have suffered a concussion have “significantly smaller” regions of the brain related to memory

The study looked at the hippocampus. If it’s damaged, a person can suffer memory loss and disorientation. Individuals with with extensive hippocampal damage may suffer amnesia.

The study was conducted by the University of Tulsa and involved comparing 25 football players with a history of concussions to 25 students who had never played football.

Tulsa faculty member Patrick Bellgowan says “Other studies have evaluated the effects on older athletes, such as retired NFL players, but no one has studied 20-year-olds until now – and the results were astounding,"

The researchers found that players with a history of concussions had a hippocampus size 24 percent smaller than non-athletes.

Another troubling finding: the more years an athlete had played football—including in high school, the slower their reaction times. 

According to Dr. Bellgowan, the next step is to figure out what caused the difference in hippocampus size.

Tulsa athletic trainer David Polanski says "This research shows the correlation,”  “The next step is to determine causation, so that long-term brain injury can be identified and prevented.”

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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