Washington: A recent study has found evidence of brain injuries in football players from a surprisingly young age. There have been more and more cases confirming that repeated hits to the head have lifelong consequences for professional football players, but a new study has found evidence of lasting effects from head injuries at a much younger age than expected.
The study tested biomarkers in the blood called micro RNAs and found that the college football players had elevated levels of these biomarkers that indicate concussions before the season even started. Linda Papa, lead author of the study said, “It was quite shocking to learn that the biomarkers were high before they were even involved in one hit or tackle for the season. This suggests that the effects of past head injuries are persisting over time.”
Researchers also conducted cognitive tests with each study participant before and after the season and found that those who struggled with balance and memory had higher levels of the biomarkers. “Some of these players had never been diagnosed with a concussion, but they still had elevated biomarker levels in their blood, indicating they likely experienced head injuries that were not severe enough to be clinically diagnosed, but still caused damage. These injuries are also known as subconcussive
injuries,” said Papa.