A football player doesn’t need to have an official concussion to experience some literal brain damage from his high-contact sport. All it takes is just one season of small hits to leave a lasting mark, researchers at the University of Rochester, New York, discovered.
There were marked changes in scans of the white matter of players’ brains due to a single season of routine head hits.
As the 38 players in the study took over 19k, brain scans showed changes in the brain stem. Twisted head hits caused the most damage, as opposed to direct head-on hits.
The hits damaged a brain area that can affect thinking ability, provoke mood disorders, or even dementia long-term.