Even though there has been considerable attention put on sports-related
brain injury recently, undiagnosed brain injuries are still putting athletes
back on the field too soon.
In one recent study comparing football players without a diagnosed concussion
to football players with a diagnosed concussion, researchers found some
who had no clinical signs of injury, but showed signs of impairment both
in neuropsychological testing and from a functional MRI.
Additionally, both the type of cognitive impairment and the location of
brain impairment were related to visual working memory-that is, the ability
to keep in mind what you've recently seen. The most commonly damaged
brain area was the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (located on the top
front of skull), where-not surprisingly-helmet-to-helmet contact is often made.
Talavage TM, Nauman EA, Breedlove EL, et al. Functionally-detected cognitive
impairment in high school football players without clinically-diagnosed
Journal of Neurotrauma. (October 2010).