(Mirror Daily, United States) A new small study reveals that sports, and particularly football, are not always safe and healthy for children. The findings point out that only one football season can trigger brain changes in young players. The specialists who conducted the study draw people’s attention on the small impacts which do not cause concussions.
A team of researchers from several institutions were in charge of the new research. They examined twenty-five young players, aged between 8 and 13 years old. Their aim was to discover the effects of mild head trauma and state the specific health risks to which young athletes are exposed.
The findings of the study reveal that major impacts which trigger concussions are not the only thing that children, parents, and coaches should be worried about. Insignificant impacts can turn out to be more important than initially believed, as they can cause brain changes. The researchers even discovered that such effects could be brought about by only one football session.
None of the twenty-five young participants in the study had been previously diagnosed with concussions. The researchers were highly interested in the white matter in the brain of the volunteers. They were submitted to various types of special tests.
The specialists were also interested in the ration of water molecules and how they work inside the brains of the young football players. The highest their FA (Fractional anisotropy) is, the better. However, when lower FA is identified, it means that there is something wrong with how the brain functions.
The study revealed that lower FA scores are closely related to the number of impacts that players were exposed to. However, the authors of the study are aware of the fact that their research is small. Additional studies are required to check all the possible results.
Previous research accounts for brain changes in athletes who had been devoted to sports their entire life. Autopsies revealed that they had signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This condition is also common in patients who suffer from mental illnesses. Symptoms such as confusion, memory loss, anxiety, and depression are common with both patients who have CTE and those who have dementia.
The authors of the study also noted that none of the participants showed signs of CTE.
The small study was published in Radiology. Doctor Christopher Whitlow is one of the authors.
Image courtesy of: Flickr
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