Indiana News

Researcher Says Smaller Hits to the Head Could Cause Brain Injury

1/12/2013

A Purdue researcher says the brain injury suffered by former NFL star Junior Seau may not have been caused by concussions.

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This week, researchers determined Seau suffered from a brain condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, caused by repeated blows to the head.  But Purdue Biomedical Engineering Professor Tom Talavage says many players often tend to suffer small, subconcussive hits to the head which, over time, could add up and cause changes in the brain.  

Talavage says players who have less than 60 subconcussive hits per week, they tend to recover within a couple of months after ending the activity, such as the end of the season.  However, he says the brains of players, like many football linebackers, who take 90 hits or more per week aren't back to normal even six months later.

Talavage says these findings show players, at a very early age, need to learn proper techniques for avoiding head contact when possible.  He says it also shows the need for less contact in practices, something already done in the NFL and most high schools but not at the collegiate level.

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