The goal of this project is to attempt to create a safe “non-invasive” intervention for adolescents that counteract changes in blood flow seen in the brain that are associated with cumulative and repetitive non-concussive head impacts after participating in a year of American football. There is concern that accumulation of a lifetime of participation could lead to long term neuro-degenerative diseases like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and our preliminary data has identified decreases in parts of the brain associated with CTE after a single season of football. Because symptomatic concussions have been show to alter autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulation, we believe this may be a mechanism driving the blood flow changes we are seeing after cumulative subconcussive head impact exposure. As a former D1 collegiate football player, I realized the only means of recovery from a season of football was the tincture of time. I also knew the daily grind of football was taking a toll on my body as well as my brain. There is currently no intervention aimed at improving brain health after cumulative sports-related head impact exposure associated with contact sports like football or soccer, and I intend to change that.
Wake Forest School of Medicine
I am a second year, neuroscience PhD student at Wake Forest School of Medicine, and am interested in studying traumatic and mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI and mTBI). I am … MORE