Blows to head during a sports game may still change the brain, even if athletes don’t suffer a concussion.
College athletes who played contact sports and who performed more poorly than expected on memory and learning tests also had more changes in their brain’s white matter than varsity competitors who didn’t play contact sports, concludes a study published December 11 in Neurology.
The results suggest a link between how hard or often athletes are hit and changes in learning, memory and the brain’s white matter. However, the brain scans did not show large-scale patterns of changes from the beginning to the end of the playing season among the contact-sport athletes.
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