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Concussions in NFL Players Linked to Sexual Health Problems

August 30, 2019DMT.NEWS

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Concussions in NFL Players Linked to Erectile Dysfunction, Says Study

It’s well-known that pro football players endure a ton of physical abuse and the dangers of concussions are also no secret. Now, according to a Harvard study, professional athletes who have had concussions have something else to worry about — their sexual health.

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In a study published in JAMA Neurology, a large sample group of 3,400 former players at the professional level revealed that concussions have a strong correlative link to symptoms such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and low testosterone.

NFL-News.-Concussion-chart1JAMA Neurology

Andrea Roberts, one of the senior authors of this latest research, elaborated on the scientist's findings. “We found the same association of concussions with ED among both younger and older men in the study, and we found the same risk of ED among men who had last played 20 years ago,” Roberts said. “These findings suggest that increased risk of ED following head injury may occur at relatively young ages and may linger for decades thereafter.”

According to the study, nearly one in five former football players reported low testosterone, while almost a quarter of those polled admitted to struggling with ED. A whopping 10 percent said they wrestled with both conditions, a striking and somewhat alarming number. And while the researchers with Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health worked extremely hard to consider other controlling factors, the numbers remained firm.

Lead author Rachel Grashow seemed fairly committed to the study's results, with scientists believing that damage to the brain's pituitary gland may be responsible for the symptoms suffered by the men of the gridiron. “I think it’s strong evidence that there is a real biologically probable link between head injury during play and erectile dysfunction and low testosterone,” she said.

NFL-News.-Concussion-chartJAMA Neurology

That being said, Grashow cautioned that this study should serve as an entry point only, and that even more research will be required to prove — rather than suggest — a definitive link between brain injury and ED or low testosterone. “This is definitely a gateway study. We definitely do not feel we’ve said anything affirmative about that relationship.”

The study was supported, in part, due to the efforts of the NFL Player's Association — a group which has, particularly in recent years, stepped up to stand behind the welfare and well-being of professional football players. Beyond that, there's a deeper thrust to the research (and the results). Grashow made it clear that everyone involved in this research stands behind injured players, in more ways than one. “We want to say to them, look this isn’t a personal failure or a failure of your masculinity; it might actually be tied to a very specific biological mechanism that’s treatable,” she said.

As for football fans? Despite all of the adrenaline-fueled action brought to the stands and to your television screen, it remains as important as ever to remember that these athletes are risking everything, including their health, and have a lot more on the line than just a win or loss.

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Christina Majaski, Khareem Sudlow

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