Brain damage from football concussions varies by position and career duration

Football players may experience different degrees of brain damage after concussions depending on what position they play and how long they stick with the sport, a small U.S. study suggests.

Researchers examined data from brain scans of 61 former college and professional football players who didn’t have any symptoms of cognitive impairment. One technique, known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), looked at the structural integrity of white matter, which connects different parts of the brain; the other test, known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), measured brain function while participants competed memory tasks.

Former college players with three or more concussions had more extensive white matter damage than their counterparts with one concussion or less, researchers report online October 31 in Radiology. But the opposite was true for athletes who went on to play professionally.

Grey Cup haunted by brain injury risk – but it doesn’t have to be

When the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders square off in Ottawa for the 105th Grey Cup on Sunday, it will be under dark clouds — not necessarily of weather, but rather the risk of concussions and their devastating long-term effect on players’ brains.

A growing body of evidence — including groundbreaking research examining the brains of living former Canadian Football League football players — suggests that the way the sport is played and the subsequent health of athletes are grave and connected problems.

We have long been suspicious about what football injuries were doing to the brains of some players, but even we were shocked when we brought 22 former CFL players into our lab at McMaster University and studied their brain activity and structure.

Football’s concussion scandal: Can we still watch? | Brian Dickerson

Death and suffering are the lot of all living creatures, but we’ve come to disdain them as spectator sports. It has been nearly a century since most civilized countries executed condemned prisoners in public. In the United States, even cockfighting is now considered barbaric, not to mention illegal.

Yet tens of millions of Americans will spend at least part of this Thanksgiving weekend transfixed by the spectacle of grown men bashing one another’s brains out. We call it professional football, but it’s getting harder and harder to pretend that those of us watching are much more civilized  than the ancient Romans who thrilled to the spectacle of Christians being dismembered by wild beasts.

Dementia and football: Brain injury study to begin in January

A long-awaited study into the links between heading a football and brain damage will start in January, the Football Association has announced.

The doctor who claimed former striker Jeff Astle died because of repeated head trauma is to lead the study.

Dr Willie Stewart said his report would aim to “provide some understanding of the long-term health impact of football within the next two to three years”.

“This is a huge day for football,” said former England captain Alan Shearer.

This breakthrough could help diagnose CTE in living patients

The degenerative brain disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), has been linked to concussions suffered by NFL players aggressiveness, depression and memory loss.  Until now, the only way of identifying if it’s what caused what happened was through an autopsy.

Athletes who repeatedly suffer blowsto the head face brain injuries and inthe most extreme cases, death. Now, a new studyhas identified a biomarker that could be used to diagnosis a brain disease that affects athletes with repeated head injuries.

CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which can currently only be diagnosed after death, is a progressive degenerative brain condition found in athletes who have suffered repeated trauma to the head, including concussions. The condition has a number of behavioural symptoms including aggressiveness, depression and memory loss.

Making headway against concussions

Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was 25 years old when he was convicted in 2015 of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. This past April, he took a bed sheet and hung himself in his prison cell.

Hernandez’s family donated his brain for research, and last month it was reported that the examination showed that Hernandez had such a severe form of the degenerative brain disease CTE that the damage was akin to that of players well into their 60s.

While the researchers didn’t directly link Hernandez’s violence to CTE, the disease often manifests itself by aggressive behavior and impulses, some dementia, mood swings, lapses in judgment and a disorganization, findings show.

To read the whole story, please click his picture.

CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy – has been found in more than 100 former NFL players, some of whom committed suicide, according to researchers at Boston University. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected challenges to an estimated $1 billion settlement between the NFL and thousands of its former players who have been diagnosed with brain injuries linked to repeated concussions. The class-action lawsuit accused the NFL of hiding what it knew about the link between concussions and CTE.

Knowing what we know about concussions and their effect on the brain, it would only make sense that we’d want to protect our brains in whatever way possible. That would include bicycle helmets.

Former student sues fraternity after alleging hazing ritual left him with brain damage

The son of a legendary Dallas Cowboys player is now suing a University of Oklahomafraternity, alleging that a hazing ritual left him with permanent brain damage so severe he can no longer remember his Social Security number.  Please click the picture for the story.

When I was at Brock, Frosh Week wasn’t anything like what he’s saying it was like.  I remember that it was fun, and there weren’t any “hazing rituals” done.