H.S. Footballers Said at Brain Risk

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Oct. 8 (UPI) — Almost half of all high school football players suffer some brain impairment without experiencing or being diagnosed with concussion, U.S. researchers say.

A team of Purdue scientists installed accelerometers in the helmets of the Lafayette Jefferson high school team that showed individual players were receiving up to 1,800 hits to the head per season, a university release said.

Recorded impacts ranged from 14 to 200 Gs, they said.

Tests administered before, during and after the 2009 season revealed visual memory loss and reduced brain activity, particularly in the top front portion of the brain, with the player receiving the most blows to that area most likely to show changes.

Rule changes might be necessary to address the problem, researchers suggested.

An immediate emphasis should be put on improved, safer blocking and tackling techniques, they said, and players might need to be put on a “head hit count” that could bench the player after too many hits, just as young baseball pitchers are pulled after a maximum pitch count is reached.

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