A new study published online at PLOS One found that “the brain degeneration observed among professional football players could result from an out-of-control immune response, similar to what multiple sclerosis patients experience. “Consequences of Repeated Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption in Football Players, Nicola Marchi, Jeffrey J. Bazarian, Vikram Puvenna, Mattia Janigro, Chaitali Ghosh, Jianhui Zhong, Tong Zhu, Eric Blackman, Desiree Stewart, Jasmina Ellis, Robert Butler, and Damir Janigro.

In its “preliminary” study, the researchers showed:  “That elevations of serum S100B indicating blood-brain barrier disruption occur in football players who experience sub-concussive head hits below the threshold for a diagnosis of concussion.  We have also shown that players who during a season experience the most significant repeated elevations of S100B are also those with the highest titer of serum S100B auto-antibodies.”

In an article published in Science Daily, Jeff Bazarian, one of the authors stated: “although the awareness of sports-related concussions is much higher, we still know very little about the long-term consequences and what happens inside the brain” ….Our theory is plausible as an explanation for how routine head hits that come with playing football can lead to severe neuro degeneration later in life.”  Click Here for a link to the story published in Science Daily.

Sports Illustrated also reported on the research.