Repetitive Head Impacts Can Affect Learning in College Athletes

A new study suggests that athletes who suffer head impacts during contact sports, such as football or hockey, may see a decrease in the ability to acquire new information.

The study involved college athletes at three Division I schools, comparing 214 athletes in contact sports to 45 athletes in non-contact sports such as track, crew, and Nordic skiing.

The contact sport athletes, who wore special helmets that recorded the acceleration speed and other data at the time of any head impact, experienced an average of 469 head impacts during the season.

All of the athletes took tests of thinking and memory skills before and after the season. Additionally, 45 contact sport athletes and 55 non-contact sport athletes also took an additional set of tests of concentration, working memory, and other skills.

By JANICE WOOD Associate News Editor


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