| News

Sports slow your brain

'students who participated in contact sports scored significantly lower in memory and learning skills than expected'

"These results were found shortly after the season and we do not know how long the effect lasts," said Thomas McAllister, Millennium Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Neuropsychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. "the good news is that overall there were few differences in the test results between the athletes in contact sports and the athletes in non-contact sports," he added.

Dartmouth faculty and students played prominent roles in a recent study on the cognitive effects of head impacts among student athletes. Tested at the beginning and end of one season, 22 percent of those students who participated in contact sports scored significantly lower in memory and learning skills than expected, as opposed to only 4 percent of non-contact sport athletes.

The study subjects were drawn from Dartmouth College and other Division I schools. The groups, numbering more than 250 in total, included football and hockey players, who were compared to participants in track, crew, and Nordic skiing—the contact vs. non-contact sports athletes.

Richard Greenwald, an adjunct assistant professor at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and co-author on the paper, played a unique part in the study. Founder and president of the Lebanon-based company Simbex, he pioneered the innovative Head Impact Telemetry System that enabled the scientists to emplace small sensors in the helmets of the football and hockey players to monitor the head impacts.

Source: Dartmouth College

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