Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Contact Sports May Affect Learning Ability

American FootballYou would think that someone who gets his head banged in too many times can't be too smart. Isn't this a common believe? Experiencing numerous head impacts in contact sports such as football and hockey can't be good for the brain right? Well, a research has been published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology addressing this issue.

What the Dartmouth researchers found was that in general, athletes in contact sports did not differ much cognitively from athletes in non-contact sports. However, when it came to measuring how well they did with new learning, those that had higher exposure to various head impact metrics performed poorly.

So, maybe we were not entirely wrong after all. This is in indication that some athletes are negatively effected by repeated head impacts. However, some are effected more than others. McAllister, the study author, reasons that "some people may be genetically more sensitive to head impacts". Also, it raises the question on whether the effects are short term or long lasting. Nothing is conclusive yet. Definitely more research needs to be done.

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