A new study of an Indiana high school football team shows that athletes are suffering brain injuries that go undiagnosed and allow the players to continue getting battered. Of the 21 high school players monitored for the season, 4 individuals who had never been diagnosed with concussions were found to have suffered brain impairment that was at least as bad as that of other players who had been determined to have concussions and then removed from play.
The reason for the discrepancy is that the undiagnosed injured players do not exhibit any outward signs and continue to play. The cognitive brain injury is actually worse than the one observed with the concussed players, according to the associate professor at the school of Biomedical Engineering at Purdue. According to a report published in the latest edition of the Journal of Neurotrauma, some players received more than 1800 hits to the head during practices and games. Some of the hits causing brain injury come with a force 20 times greater than what a person would feel while riding a roller coaster. The Purdue study also shines a light on personal injuries that are more insidious than full-blown concussions, ones that do not always result in outward symptoms but could add up to cause serious long-term cognitive problems.
Studies are now shining light on what is more damaging: the intensity of an individual hit or the cumulative impact of repeated collisions. One researcher warned that there could be brain changes that may not affect the player now, but may affect them 10 or 20 years later.
Click on the link to the Chicago Tribune to read more about the brain injury study.