Future of Contact Sports

The prevalence of repetitive blows to the head in contact sports such as football, soccer, and ice hockey is of concern to many brain specialists, public officials, and former athletes. The consequences of these injuries range from short-term effects, like dizziness and nausea, to long-term effects, like depression, dementia, and memory loss. Even President Obama has expressed concern about head injuries in American football. In this season alone, the National Football League has already reported 170 concussions.

Clinical research developments in neuroimaging have heightened public awareness, spurring greater industry action and regulation on the issue of better protecting players. The NFL recently launched its Head Health Initiative, a major research effort backed by $60 million in collective investments. The German Ice Hockey League has also amped up efforts by issuing new rules that punish players who conduct fouls on heads or necks. Appropriate diagnosis and regulation, however, will continue to require a better understanding of chronic brain trauma. How many concussions does it take to cause long-term cognitive problems? Can the accumulation of sub-concussive blows to the head cause neurological damage similar to a true concussion?

Expert panelists from Germany and the United States shared their research findings on the implications of sports-related head injuries on June 3rd at the German House. 

A video recording is available by clicking on the "Video Link" on the right hand panel.

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