(SL) -A new study says young football players can have measurable changes in the brain after only one season of play. Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas say that’s true even with youngsters who have not had concussions.
They found changes that can lead to traumatic brain injuries and mental disorders. Researchers say the vast majority of head impacts players experience don’t cause concussions. They say that’s something that needs a lot more study among youth football and high school players.Science Daily reports, For the study, 26 youth football players (ages 9-13) were outfitted with the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) for an entire football season. HITS helmets are lined with accelerometers or sensors that measure the magnitude, location and direction of impacts to the head. Impact data from the helmets were used to calculate a risk of concussion exposure for each player. Players were equally divided into high and low concussion exposure groups. Players with a history of concussion were excluded.
A third group of 13 non-contact sport controls was established. Pre- and post-season resting functional MRI (fMRI) scans were performed on all players and controls, and connectivity within the DMN sub-components was analyzed.