Add this to the “Concerns about Contact Sports Files”–we KNOW that concussions are bad and represent “brain damage”, but a recent study from the Cleveland Clinic showed that football players had damage to the cells in the brain after head trauma, even if they did NOT have a concussion. By checking for a certain protein in the blood (that can leak from the brain after trauma), they found elevated levels in players without concussions but with repeated hits. Six months later, those same players had cognitive changes similar to people who did have concussions.
-The good news is that this was mainly seen in players with multiple hits–simply “participating” itself was not a risk.
-Bottom line? We need to learn more about the real consequences of head trauma in contact sports, but in the interim, you can’t be too careful. Until we have better tests and game-side measurements, if your child has had multiple hits in a game, it may be wise to pull them out, even if they DON’T have a concussion.