It is football season again and as a big football fan, I enjoy watching football athletics play the game with such skill and grace. However, as a frontline researcher for Alzheimer’s disease, I always worry about football athletics getting a concussion, including high school football players. I have discovered that many young athletes who suffer a concussion during play do not always show immediate signs of permanent memory problems. What I have found was that men in their 50’s, who played contact sports as teenagers, and reported incidents of concussion during their young, many now suffer from memory problems.
It is only now that high school communities are taking action to help prevent these young kids, who play contact sports, from developing memory problems later in life. The Michigan High School Athletic Association seems to have launched such efforts. The association appears to train coaches in how to administer sideline concussion testing, This testing helps determine if an athlete is at a higher risk and needs removal of the game for safety reasons. It also helps keep track of these incidents more closely as part of the prevention program. I believe this is a good start and a way to prevent our kids from having memory problems later in life.