Nav: Home

Studies uncover the hard-hitting consequences of sports-related head injuries

November 14, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC -- Playing contact sports can injure the brain even if head impacts don't result in concussions, according to new research presented today at Neuroscience 2017, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health. The studies also suggest that relatively simple changes in equipment and athlete education could improve safety.

The risks of head injuries in sports have gained widespread attention in recent years, as studies of National Football League (NFL) players reveal the high prevalence of a neurodegenerative disease that impairs memory and changes personality. Although the focus has been on concussion, evidence indicates that less severe hits to the brain can also cause lasting damage.

Today's new findings show that:
  • In soccer, "heading" the ball disrupts brain connections called axons to a larger extent in females than in males, a possible explanation for why women experience longer-lasting symptoms (Todd G. Rubin, abstract 394.08, see attached summary).

  • Sustaining a concussion or simply playing one season of a contact sport temporarily decreases performance on a memory test, possibly because head impacts may affect the ability of the hippocampus to make new neurons (Melissa Danielle McCradden, abstract 394.22, see attached summary).

  • Many professional football players -- and older athletes in particular -- disregard safety recommendations when selecting their helmets, a finding that suggests stricter helmet rules are needed to ensure better protection (Raymond J. Collelo, abstract 754.08, see attached summary).

  • Cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy falsely believe they will be penalized for multiple concussions and thus may deny when one occurs, indicating better education on concussion policy is needed (Brian R. Johnson, abstract 028.01, see attached summary).

"Today's findings continue to emphasize the dangers of head injuries in sports, as well as reveal specifics on the way particular brain regions are affected," said Linda Noble, PhD, of the University of Texas at Austin and an expert on brain injuries. "Understanding how athletes think about concussion -- when choosing their equipment or reporting injury -- can help create better policies that will keep them safer."
This research was supported by national funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as other public, private, and philanthropic organizations worldwide. Find out more about concussions on

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) is an organization of nearly 37,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.

Society for Neuroscience

Related Neuroscience Articles:

Three ways neuroscience can advance the concussion debate
While concussion awareness has improved over the past decade, understanding the nuances of these sports injuries, their severity, symptoms, and treatment, is still a work in progress.
Study shows rapid growth in neuroscience research
A study of the impact and research topics of neuroscience papers from 2006-2015 has shown that the number of neuroscience papers and highly-productive core neuroscience journals has grown, while psychology and behavioral sciences have become more popular research areas.
CNS 2017: Big Ideas in Cognitive Neuroscience
Press registration is now open for the Cognitive Neuroscience Society annual conference, March 25-28, 2017, in San Francisco, CA, at the Hyatt Regency.
Jounrnal of Neuroscience: Highlights from the November 9 issue
Check out these newsworthy symposia featured in the Nov. 9, 2016, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
Awards event to recognize heroes of green and open neuroscience
On Monday, November 14, at 6:30 p.m., the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the founders of the Green Neuroscience Laboratory will recognize individuals and organizations that help forward the principles and culture of Green and Open Neuroscience.
Robotic cleaning technique could automate neuroscience research
For scientists listening in on the faint whispers of brain neurons, a first-ever robotic technique for cleaning the tiny devices that record the signals could facilitate a new level of automation in neuroscience research.
29th ECNP Congress for Applied and Translational Neuroscience
Europe's largest meeting in applied and translational neuroscience, the 29th ECNP Congress of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) will take place at the Austria Center Vienna from Sept.
Neuroscience 2016 media registration now open
San Diego becomes the epicenter of neuroscience in November as 30,000 researchers, clinicians, and advocates from around the world gather November 12-16 to explore and share the latest developments in brain research.
A vision for revamping neuroscience education
The expanding scope and growing number of tools used for neuroscience is moving beyond what is taught in traditional graduate programs, say leaders in American neuroscience education, funding, and policy.
Is educational neuroscience a waste of money?
Educational neuroscience has little to offer schools or children's education, according to new research from the University of Bristol, UK.

Related Neuroscience Reading:

by Dale Purves (Editor), George J. Augustine (Editor), David Fitzpatrick (Editor), William C. Hall (Editor), Anthony-Samuel LaMantia (Editor), Richard D. Mooney (Editor), Michael L. Platt (Editor), Leonard E. White (Editor)

This comprehensive textbook provides a balance of animal and human studies to discuss the dynamic field of neuroscience from cellular signaling to cognitive function. The book's length and accessible writing style make it suitable for both medical students and undergraduate neuroscience courses. Each new book includes a one-year subscription to Sylvius 4 Online.
View Details

Neuroscience For Dummies
by Frank Amthor (Author)

Get on the fast track to understanding neuroscience

Investigating how your senses work, how you move, and how you think and feel, Neuroscience For Dummies, 2nd Edition is your straight-forward guide to the most complicated structure known in the universe: the brain. Covering the most recent scientific discoveries and complemented with helpful diagrams and engaging anecdotes that help bring the information to life, this updated edition offers a compelling and plain-English look at how the brain and nervous system function.

Simply put, the human brain is an endlessly... View Details

Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
by David E. Presti PhD (Author)

Key concepts in neuroscience presented for the non-medical reader.

A fresh take on contemporary brain science, this book presents neuroscience―the scientific study of brain, mind, and behavior―in easy-to-understand ways with a focus on concepts of interest to all science readers. Rigorous and detailed enough to use as a textbook in a university or community college class, it is at the same time meant for any and all readers, clinicians and non-clinicians alike, interested in learning about the foundations of contemporary brain science. From molecules and cells to... View Details

Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain
by Mark F. Bear (Author), Barry W. Connors (Author), Michael A. Paradiso (Author)

Publisher’s Note:   Products purchased from 3rd Party sellers are not guaranteed by the Publisher for quality, authenticity, or access to any online entitlements included with the product.

Acclaimed for its clear, friendly style, excellent illustrations, leading author team, and compelling theme of exploration, Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, 4e takes a fresh, contemporary approach to the study of neuroscience, emphasizing the biological basis of behavior. The authors’ passion for the dynamic field of neuroscience is evident on every page, engaging students... View Details

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience
by Michael S. Gazzaniga (Author)

Michael S. Gazzaniga, one of the most important neuroscientists of the twentieth century, gives us an exciting behind-the-scenes look at his seminal work on that unlikely couple, the right and left brain. Foreword by Steven Pinker.

In the mid-twentieth century, Michael S. Gazzaniga, “the father of cognitive neuroscience,” was part of a team of pioneering neuroscientists who developed the now foundational split-brain brain theory: the notion that the right and left hemispheres of the brain can act independently from one another and have different strengths.

In Tales from... View Details

Neuroscience, Fifth Edition
by Dale Purves (Author), George J. Augustine (Author), David Fitzpatrick (Author), William C. Hall (Author), Anthony-Samuel LaMantia (Author), Leonard E. White (Author)

This classic textbook guides students through the challenges and excitement of the rapidly changing field of neuroscience. Accessible for both medical students and undergraduate neuroscience students, the 5th edition has been updated throughout to reflect the latest developments. View Details

Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time
by Dean Buonomano (Author)

A leading neuroscientist embarks on a groundbreaking exploration of how time works inside the brain.

In Your Brain Is a Time Machine, brain researcher and best-selling author Dean Buonomano draws on evolutionary biology, physics, and philosophy to present his influential theory of how we tell, and perceive, time. The human brain, he argues, is a complex system that not only tells time but creates it; it constructs our sense of chronological flow and enables “mental time travel”―simulations of future and past events. These functions are... View Details

The Human Brain Coloring Book (Coloring Concepts Series)
by Marian C. Diamond (Author), Arnold B Scheibel (Author)

The Human Brain Coloring Book provides a means of learning about the structure and function of the human brain, through a process of coloring-by-directions (directed coloring). It was developed by internationally recognized neuroscientists and teachers marian C. Diamond and Arnold B. Scheibel in association with highly acclaimed teacher and anatomist Lawrence M. Elson, creator of Coloring Concepts, this book is designed for a wide range of users: informal learners, students of psychology and the biological sciences, medical, dental, nursing, and other healthp rofessional students, and... View Details

Basic Clinical Neuroscience
by Paul A. Young PhD (Author), Paul H. Young (Author), Daniel L. Tolbert PhD (Author)

Publisher’s Note:   Products purchased from 3rd Party sellers are not guaranteed by the Publisher for quality, authenticity, or access to any online entitlements included with the product.

Clinically oriented and student-friendly, Basic Clinical Neuroscience provides the anatomic and pathophysiologic basis necessary to understand neurologic abnormalities. This concise but comprehensive text emphasizes the localization of specific medically important anatomic structures and clinically important pathways, using anatomy-enhancing illustrations. 

Updated... View Details

Neuroscience: Fundamentals for Rehabilitation, 4e
by Laurie Lundy-Ekman PhD PT (Author)

This practical guide connects the theory of neuroscience with real-world clinical application by utilizing first person accounts of neurological disorders and in-depth case studies. It also provides clear descriptions of a complete range of neurological disorders. Special features such as "at-a-glance" summaries, pathology boxes, and hundreds of full-color illustrations, enhance the learning experience and make it easy to master the fundamentals of neuroscience rehabilitation.

Systems approach to neuroscience helps you develop a fuller understanding of concepts in the beginning... View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Consequences Of Racism
What does it mean to be judged before you walk through the door? What are the consequences? This week, TED speakers delve into the ways racism impacts our lives, from education, to health, to safety. Guests include poet and writer Clint Smith, writer and activist Miriam Zoila Pérez, educator Dena Simmons, and former prosecutor Adam Foss.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#465 How The Nose Knows
We've all got a nose but how does it work? Why do we like some smells and not others, and why can we all agree that some smells are good and some smells are bad, while others are dependant on personal or cultural preferences? We speak with Asifa Majid, Professor of Language, Communication and Cultural Cognition at Radboud University, about the intersection of culture, language, and smell. And we level up on our olfactory neuroscience with University of Pennsylvania Professor Jay Gottfried.