Study Funded by The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Shows No Early Dementia in 21 Past NHL, NFL Players
In a new study, researchers found no evidence of early onset dementia in a small sample of retired professional hockey and football players.
The new research adds important information to the body of knowledge about the cognitive and behavioral status of retired athletes who spent their careers in contact sports.
The researchers assessed 21 professional athletes retired from the National Football League and the National Hockey League on neuropsychological measures associated with mild cognitive impairment and executive function.
The researchers have published four papers in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: an overview paper plus three additional papers assessing cognitive changes, executive function, and advanced brain imaging.
The study, which the researchers note involved “a relatively small sample of former athletes,” did not find evidence of early onset dementia in the retired players, which would be expected with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The comprehensive, case-control study is believed to be the first age-matched athlete comparison designed to identify in retired living athletes cognitive symptoms or imaging findings that would indicate the presence of early onset dementia...