Friday, May 18, 2012

Head whacks can impair learning--sort of

Is this one for The Big Book of Duh? A new study in Neurology (May 16, 2012) says head impacts from football and hockey may worsen some college athletes’ ability to acquire new info.

They looked at college athletes in three Division I schools and compared 214 athletes in contact sports to 45 in noncontact sports such as track, crew, and Nordic skiing. The contact sports group wore helmets recording the data on head impacts.

These students got an average of 469 head impacts during the season. (No concussions—if they had one, they were not in the study.)

The groups took thinking and memory tests before and after.

Although there were not dramatic differences in scores between the groups, a higher percentage of contact sports people had lower scores than would be expected. This was about 22% of the contact sports people.

Still, there were few differences in the initial scores of both groups—meaning that previous head blows had not hurt thinking or memory?

Is this a big deal?

You can still get my booklet on concussion if you want. Go to

All things being equal (like that ever happens), getting hit in the head is probably not a good thing.

No comments: