It’s fun, but head butting a ball and taking hits could spell trouble for you when you’re 60.
It’s known that dementia has some kind of genetic component. If you’re mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all hit by it, you very well could be next in line.
I write this coming from a family with old age dementia. It’s not in every generation, but it’s there. My approach is that there’s no avoiding life, so let’s live it. I’m not holding my breath.
But it’s a bit scary to learn that environmental and lifestyle factors could also play a role in deciding who gets to fight off Alzheimer’s and other, similar forms of dementia.
It’s alarming because some are things that we do often, and for some people, avoiding theses activities, well, makes for a boring life.
Is there a solution? Maybe with more awareness of the long term effects certain activities have on our brains, practices will change. Head-butting and violent play will no longer be allowed.
Let’s hope so. Here are 4 amazing sports that could give you dementia:
Those who don’t play (or watch) soccer might not think of it as a contact sport, but sometimes it is.
No one is being tackled to the ground but impact can occur and when it does, just remember that there isn’t any padding above the knees, unlike football. Ouch.
And then there’s head butting the ball. This can be a particularly dangerous move.
BBC.com reports on how people who play soccer frequently over many years, either as a serious amateur or as a professional, may have an increased risk of developing dementia.
Scientists from University College London and Cardiff University have examined the brains of six players who fit this description. They played for an average of 26 years, and all of them develop early-onset dementia in their 60s.
Experts still say that dementia is likely caused by a mixture of age, lifestyle and genetic factors. When the brains of these 6 players were examined in an autopsy though, 4 of them displayed the same type of damage that shows up in boxers.
Officially, the brain changes are called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and they’re linked to dementia, memory loss and depression.
Football is often thought of as the worse contact sport out there, and for good reason. As exciting as the game is though, the fun can come at a price.
Time.com reports on the link between contact in football and Alzheimer’s. The site states that a study conducted at Loyola University Medical Center found retired NFL players are “more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a form of dementia that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, than similarly aged men who didn’t play football”.
Football players take the kind of hit that a helmet won’t protect against. Some involved in the field say that changing the ways players drill in practice could potentially help.
With all those blows to the head, boxing is known to cause brain damage that can lead to dementia or Parkinson’s disease. Cleveland Clinic.org states that those in boxing even have a name for it.
Sadly, it’s called being “punch-drunk”.
The Globe and Mail.com tells the story of Steve Payne, formerly of the Minnesota North Stars.
“I’ve been examined by several experts,” Payne told the Globe, “and they’ve come to the same conclusion – that I am starting to show the signs and the symptoms of multiple concussions. So it has started to cause some dysfunction for me. I’m 57 years old, and I’m at a level of someone in his late 60s.”
Payne is part of a group of 105 former professional players who have joined a class-action lawsuit against the NHL.
Those involved feel that the league had the resources and furthermore, the power to do more to prevent head injuries, but promoted violent play anyways, without warning players of the risks.
If we’re lucky, some changes will come about to protect others, in the future.