Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Healthcare

Head injuries may affect brain function, even without a concussion

See also

Blows to the head during one season of ice hockey or football may affect the brains' white matter and cognitive abilities even if the athletes do not have a concussion, suggests a new study by the American Academy of Neurology. The study was published in the December 11, 2013, online issue of "Neurology."

“We found differences in the white matter of the brain in these college contact sport athletes compared to non-contact sport varsity athletes,” said study author Thomas W. McAllister, MD, of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. “The degree of white matter change in the contact sport athletes was greater in those who performed more poorly than expected on tests of memory and learning, suggesting a possible link in some athletes between how hard/often they are hit, white matter changes, and cognition, or memory and thinking abilities.”

Researchers recorded the acceleration time of head injuries of 80 concussion-free ice hockey and varsity football players from Division I NCAA Dartmouth College. The athletes wore helmets during play. The results were compared to those of 79 non-contact sport athletes who did crew, track, and Nordic skiing. The athletes were assessed with brain scans, and took memory and learning tests before and shortly after the season.

Researchers found that a subgroup of both types of athletes performed worse than they expected on memory and verbal learning tests at the end of the season. The score decline was more than 1.5 standard deviations below the predicted score. McAllister said that the large decline shown by 11 percent of the non-contact athletes and 20 percent of the contact players would be expected in less than 7 percent of a normal population.

“This group of athletes with different susceptibility to repetitive head impacts raises the question of what underlying factors might account for the changes in learning and memory, and whether those effects are long-term or short-lived,” said McAllister.



  • Transgender cop
    A transgender police officer is stepping down from her position to run for office
    Political Office
  • Easter eggs
    Craft delicate, hand-painted eggs with flowers and other designs celebrating spring
    Easter Eggs
  • Subway message
    Subway customer finds 'Big Mama' written on her order
    Subway Message
  • Working from home
    Working from home can be an exciting venture. Get tips to ensure productivity
    Get Tips
  • Limes
    Rising cost of limes could be putting the squeeze on your favorite restaurant
    Expensive Limes
  • Pope Francis
    Religion: Pope Francis instructs how to fight against Satan
    Morning Mass

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!