Research unveiled at the American Academy of Neurology 68th Annual Meeting at Vancouver, Canada this week revealed that more than 40% of retired NFL players tested showed signs of a traumatic brain injury, a much higher rate than in the general population.

For the study, researchers conducted thinking and memory tests in 40 retired NFL players, along with brain scans. The players average age was 36, ranging from 27 to 56 and the majority of the players had been out of the NFL for less than five years. The players had played an average of seven years in the NFL with them reporting an average of 8.1 concussions.

Seventeen players (or 43%) showed evidence on MRI imaging of traumatic brain injury. 50% of the players had significant problems on executive function, 45% on learning or memory loss, 42% on attention and concentration and 24% on space and perception function.

The finding of 43% was about three times higher than amongst the general population in the US. No relationship was found between the number of diagnosed concussions suffered by a player and the signs of brain damage, however, Dr Francis Conidi, leading author of the study, commented that: ”we found that longer careers placed the athletes at a higher risk” and that “consistent banging the players experienced during games and practices puts them more at risk than the big hits that cause concussions”.

Ronan Hynes
Ronan Hynes

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Should you require more information on healthcare matters or if you or a loved one have been affected by or suffered a brain injury, please contact Ronan Hynes, partner at Keating Connolly Sellors, for expert legal advice on 061-414355 or rhynes@sellors.ie.

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