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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Finds Repeated Hits in Football Take Cumulative Toll

The more hits that former high school and college football players took, the higher their likelihood of experiencing problems such as depression, apathy, or memory loss years later, a new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and Boston University School of Medicine researchers says.

The study in the Journal of Neurotrauma, reports the most rigorous evidence to date that overall exposure to contact by former players could predict their likelihood of experiencing neurological problems. The paper represents researchers’ first attempt to precisely calculate cumulative lifetime exposure to contact in living players. Previous estimates had relied in part on former players’ memories of concussions, or on number of years played. The new paper uses more objective measures, including data from helmet accelerometer studies.

The study found that the greater the number of hits in a player’s career, the higher the likelihood of problems later in life. The cumulative number of hits also was a better predictor of later-life impairments than other measures, such as a player’s concussion total.

“I think of the study as just the beginning of trying to characterize exposure in a more precise way,” co-author Dr. Michael McClean, an associate professor of environmental health, told The New York Times in an interview.

To read more about the study, go to: