Many people assume that, so long as an impact to the head is not severe enough to cause a concussion, no permanent damage is done to the brain. However, a new study of professional soccer players has revealed that repetitive blows, even when minor, can cause permanent brain injury. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys hope that the knowledge gained from this study will help doctors and scientists to understand the nature of brain injury and learn to combat it.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at brain scans from twelve professional soccer players and twelve swimmers in Germany. What they found was that the players’ brains closely resembled those of victims of brain injury, despite the fact that they had not suffered a concussion or more severe brain injury.
Specifically, the white matter in the players’ brains contained water molecules moving in a randomized, diffuse pattern, rather than a straight line. This means that the brain tissue had been damaged, and thus was no longer able to contain and direct the water molecules. The changes were present in the parts of the brain controlling memory, higher thinking and reasoning, attention, and visual processing. The brains of the swimmers, by contrast, had no such problem.
The incidence of brain injury in contact sports such as football and hockey has been well-documented and studied, leading doctors to a greater understanding of how brain trauma causes injury. This new line of inquiry should help doctors to study and understand how repetitive minor collisions can lead to major damage – and by observing the damage slowly occur, study more closely how the mechanics of brain injury occur.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.