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New research finds cognitive impairment after just one season of rugby

Tue 31 Aug 2021

A new study to be published on Wednesday is reported to have found that just one season of professional rugby can cause cognitive impairment.

As reported by the BBC, the study, conducted by researchers at the University of South Wales, found that over just one season of professional rugby, players experienced a decline in cognitive (thinking) function and blood flow to the brain. 

The study follows a growing body of research that suggests a link between head injury in sport and cognitive decline. 

Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Glasgow found that player position and career length among professional footballers is related to the risk of developing neurodegenerative disease, while previous studies have established an increased risk of dementia among former professional footballers. 

Among both football and rugby, there are increasing reports of former professional players now living with neurological conditions or dementia, with 200 former players currently taking legal action against rugby governing bodies. 

The latest study, to be published in the Journal of Experimental Physiology, adds additional weight to the issue of concussion and sport. Headway will continue to monitor the research and looks forward to seeing the published study in full. 

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