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Football players need more time for brain to recover

NFL players are constantly in contact with each other on the field. Hard hits are part of the game, which means that a majority of football players are getting hit several times during a game as well as in practices. All this contact has to take a toll on a person's body, but many people and medical professionals have believed that the six-month off-season is plenty of time to recover from a "rough" season. 

Unfortunately, a new study says that six-months is not long enough for a player's brain to recover from so many hits on the field. The study found that a player's brain sees changes after being hit 10 to 15 times. Many players on the field end up sustaining this many hits in just one game. 

The researchers said players may have a higher risk for having a brain injury in the next season because there isn't enough time to recover from all the hits to their head. Surprisingly, the study found that all football players don't have enough time to recover after a season, even if they didn't suffer a concussion. They said that part of the reason could be because many NFL players still practice during the offseason instead of resting. 

Specifically, the study found that many football players still had signs of a mild brain injury even six months after the season ended. The researchers could not say if these football players would have complications in the future because of these mild injuries. However, even mild brain injuries can result in complications, especially since previous studies have found that minor, repetitive head trauma can cause long-term damage. 

This study isn't likely going to change any current NFL procedures or practice schedules. However, football players in Washington D.C. should be aware of the impact mild brain injuries and concussions may have on their health in the future. 

Source: US News, "Study: Offseason Not Long Enough for Football Players' Brains to Heal," Alan Neuhauser, April 16, 2014

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