Brain Injuries in Sports

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.
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The researchers, interested in whether frequent sub concussive blows to the head in soccer players could lead to traumatic brain injury, evaluated concussion-naïve soccer players using high resolution DTI, which “is highly sensitive for detecting alterations in white matter architecture.” The researchers utilized forty soccer players, all right handed males, from two training groups of an elite-level soccer club in Germany.
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A recent article in the New York Times highlights how researchers are working on a new, relatively inexpensive way to spot injuries and monitor brain diseases using magnetic sensors that can spot changes in brain waves. This compact and portable detection device, part of the field of optical magnetometry, is constructed as a form of headgear roughly the size of a sugar cube, and works by having sensors measure changes in the brain’s magnetic field.
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The Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey (ATSNJ) released a Concussion Policy Survey which states that although New Jersey has implemented the Concussion Law, some schools are delaying in their compliance with the new regulations. The survey examined 110 high school athletic trainers throughout the state of New Jersey and states that while most districts have a board approved policy, others do not and those without blame the Law stating that it is difficult to interpret certain provisions.
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Sarah Burke, Canadian freestyle skier, four-time Winter X Games Gold Medalist and Olympic gold-medal contender, died yesterday at the age of 29 after complications from an accident at the Park City, Utah halfpipe January 10th. Burke was considered a pioneer in her sport as she successfully lobbied to add superpipe skiing to the Olympic Winter Games.
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