It’s been difficult to really examine the effects of football on living former players in a rigorous scientific way, but a new study by The Hamilton Spectator and McMaster University (both located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) does that, and one researcher involved said the results they found were “shocking.” It’s interesting to see a local paper partner with a university like this on such a long-term project, but it certainly appears to have produced remarkable results.
McMaster professor Dr. Luciano Minuzzi (one of the key researchers on this study) had some particularly strong comments about the cortical thinning, how dramatic it was, and what implications came to mind for him:
Minuzzi, the psychiatrist and brain imaging expert, said he expected to see small spots of cortical thinning, perhaps localized to the areas where concussions occurred.
Instead, “they show global reduction,” Minuzzi said. “The whole brain has been affected.”
…“Something really wrong is happening here,” he said. “It’s impossible to fake this. This is an objective measure of the thickness of your brain.”
…As Minuzzi studied the brain scans of the players, one image popped into his head — “the gladiators of the past,” he said.
“People were cheering for someone to die,” he said. “I was wondering if that’s what’s happening now when we turn the TV on. Are we seeing people who are being exposed to something that is quite negative that will change their lives forever?”