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Researchers Suggest Concussions Cause Changes in Brain Matter

By: Ira Sherman

A recent study of Canadian hockey players is suggesting that concussions cause visible changes in brain matter, as well as inflammation. The study – which was published earlier this month in the Journal of Neurosurgery – found that recently sustained concussions are identifiable in the microstructure of the brain. This is a significant finding that provides evidence that chronic brain injuries can be seen in current athletes and not only later in life.

Washington DC Brain Injury Lawyer

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Western University of Canada conducted the study using 45 male and female Canadian hockey players. All players were given magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans before and after the season. Players who received concussions during the season were also given MRI scans within 72 hours of the injury, as well as two weeks and two months after. Researchers found the following:

  • MRI scans detected microscopic white matter and inflammation in players who sustained a concussion during the season.
  • Players who sustained concussions during the season, or who had reported concussions in the past, showed differences in the brain's white matter structure than players who did not experience concussion injuries or who did not report a history of brain injuries.
  • Changes in the brain's microstructure were likely caused by micro-hemorrhaging, neural injury, and / or the body's inflammatory response to brain injury.

Researchers and medical experts believe that monitoring brain injuries using MRI scans can help with charting acute and chronic brain injuries in athletes. As we've seen in far too many ex-professional athletes, these brain injuries can create profound and life-altering damages as players age. This study, however, confirms that changes in the brain occur with each concussion, and that preventing these injuries is of crucial importance.

Studies such as these have proven the need for sports organizations of all types to place an emphasis on player safety. If you would like more information about athlete injuries, concussions, and your legal rights, contact a Washington DC personal injury attorney at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel.