As most of you might expect, getting hit in the head isn’t really that good for you. And getting hit in the head repeatedly is even worse. Now, if the hits are few and far between, not to mention not all that powerful, you’re golden – you have nothing to worry about. But if the hits are numerous and powerful enough, you might have a bad time later on in life.
This is because according to a study from the Boston University School of Medicine, amateur football repeated head hits might lead to other issues. These issues would only occur later in life, and only if the hits were powerful and frequent enough. Their severity depends on multiple factors.
Published on Thursday in the Journal of Neurotrauma, the study is perhaps one of the first to look at how multiple cumulative impacts to the head sustained during football played while young can lead to some difficulties later in life. Some of the issues associated with these repeated minor head traumas are depression, some measure of cognitive impairment, and difficulty in making decisions.
Dr. Robert Stern, one of the study’s co-authors, wanted to emphasize how important it is not to take the study out of context. He urges people not to let the results of his study dictate their lives. He insists that it’s just a preliminary study meant to answer some questions, not an indicator that if you get hit enough times you will have issues.
One of the very interesting things about the study is that Stern didn’t want to look at professional players, only at amateurs. According to him,
We think it’s really important to understand what’s going on in people who play just through high school or just through college and not only focus on the very small number of people who go on to play in the pros. That’s not interesting to me. What’s more interesting is something that’s more generalizable to the average athlete.
So the team looked at 93 former amateur football players and calculated how many head hits they likely had during their careers based on data like their positions and years of experience. The results showed that once a certain threshold is hit, the number of subsequent hits will increase the chances of cognitive, mood and behavioral impairment later in life.
Another interesting thing about the study is that the researchers didn’t particularly look at concussions. He wanted moderate head hits, not ones that could cause any real damage by themselves. This was done in order to be even more relatable to the general population.
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