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Study of NFL players links concussions to cognitive impairment

Athletes in Louisiana should know that those hard hits on the field might take a toll on their brains. A recently-published study tested the memory performance of retired NFL players with histories of concussions along with measuring their hippocampal brain regions.

The researchers compared 28 retired athletes to a control group of 27 people. Some of the athletes had endured concussions during their careers, and some did not show any failings in memory performance even though they had a history of concussions. However, those with a concussion history did produce a noticeably lower result on the California Verbal Learning Test than the control group.

Among the athletes who exhibited cognitive impairment in the form of memory difficulties, their testing results were below both the control group and the other athletes. Brain scans of the retired athletes with cognitive troubles revealed that their hippocampal volumes were smaller than those among the control group members. The authors of the study wrote that concussions, especially those that result in loss of consciousness, put people at risk of mild cognitive impairment.

Studies like this one indicate that even a mild brain injury could inflict memory impairment in the future. Difficulties in memory could interfere with a person's ability to hold a job or enjoy life. Someone who has noticed symptoms developing after a head injury could be developing a long-term disability. A victim of a head injury that was caused by the negligent or intentional actions of another party may want to speak with an attorney. In many cases, it may be advisable to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party seeking damages that could include the costs of medical care as well as compensation for lost past and future earnings.

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