Published on:

Sports-Related Brain Injuries May Speed Up Cognitive Decline Associated With the Aging Process

880737_brain_001 sxchu username Obscenity.jpgRecently, many news reports have focused on the long-term effects that concussions may have had on professional athletes. For example, a number of former National Football League players are currently suing the organization over health complications allegedly related to brain injuries they sustained while playing professional football. The short-term effects of concussions and other brain trauma on children and teens who engage in contact sports have also been reported on in the news to varying degrees. Now, researchers are also beginning to study the long-term effects of a brain injury on recreational athletes.

In May, researchers from the University of Montreal published a study that examined the brains of former athletes who played contact sports approximately 30 years ago. Each of the study participants was considered healthy and physically active. Prior to the study, no one complained of symptoms related to cognitive impairment such as memory loss despite that many of the research participants experienced at least one concussion while engaged in a sporting activity in their youth. Researchers performed brain scans on the former athletes and administered both short and long-term memory tests. According to researchers, the brains of those participants who had experienced concussions in their youth appeared to be biologically older than the brains of those who had not suffered brain trauma. In fact, the brains of 50-year-olds who had been concussed were structurally similar to the brains of 60-year-old study participants who had not experienced such a trauma.

According to Steven P. Broglio, Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan, the premature aging results are alarming. He stated that his own research has also demonstrated that brain injuries such as concussions may speed up cognitive deterioration. Additionally, Dr. Broglio found that college students who suffered concussions while playing sports experienced a decline in cognitive abilities that still existed several years later.

Dr. Kevin M. Guskiewicz of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has also studied the effects of sports-related concussions. He stated the effects of a brain trauma tend to vary from person to person. While some athletes will experience cognitive decline from only one concussion, others may not. Dr. Broglio and other researchers are currently planning to begin a long-term study that would monitor the effects of a sports-related concussion on individuals from onset into old age.

Although the effects of a brain injury can be obvious, they can also be difficult to detect. Individuals who suffer a concussion or other brain injury may experience seizures, have difficulty speaking, or have trouble with balance and motor skills. Over time, the victim of a brain injury may experience memory loss, an inability to concentrate, mood swings, and other lifelong problems. The costs related to treating the many symptoms of brain damage can be astronomical. If you suffered a concussion or other brain injury in an accident, you should contact an experienced brain injury lawyer.


At the law firm of Carabin & Shaw, our hardworking McAllen personal injury attorneys are available to help injured clients throughout the State of Texas achieve the compensation they deserve following a brain injury. Our lawyers are available to help the victims of traumatic brain injuries in Austin, Beeville, Laredo, Beaumont, Rockport, El Paso, San Antonio, Seguin, and McAllen. To schedule a free case review with a skilled personal injury attorney, please call Carabin & Shaw toll free at (800) 862-1260 or contact our capable lawyers through our website.

More Blogs:

Johnson & Johnson to Stop Selling Pelvic Surgical Mesh Products in Texas, Throughout Nation, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, July 6, 2012
Documents Suggest Pfizer Intentionally Withheld Key Celebrex Safety Information in Texas, Nationwide, Texas Injury Lawyers Blog, June 25, 2012
Additional Resources:

Head Injuries and the Everyday Athlete, by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times

Photo credit:
Miranda Knox, Stock.xchng (photo cropped)