Studies which cemented the link between Parkinson’s disease and boxers have led to medical experts worrying about a connection between playing tackle football and having neurological issues. However, until now, theories haven’t been able to prove this link.
A recent research has provided evidence that these suspicions might indeed be accurate. The study discovered that individuals with a history of playing organized tackle football faced a 61% higher likelihood of having reported cases of parkinsonism or a PD diagnosis.
All of these participants were part of a research initiative called Fox Insight, a project conducted online that tracks individuals with and without Parkinson’s disease over an extended period of time.
In this study, researchers examined a total of 1,875 individuals, who were involved in sports activities. Among them, 729 were men who played football, mostly at an amateur level, while the remaining 1,146 men were engaged in different sports and were used as a group for comparison.
Researchers have found that playing football is linked to a higher chance of being diagnosed with parkinsonism or Parkinson’s disease, even after considering other factors that can cause it.
The study discovered that the age at which players began their football journey didn’t influence their susceptibility to these diseases. This indicates that extensive and high-level involvement in football might increase the likelihood of developing Parkinsonism or Parkinson’s disease.
“Playing tackle football could be a contributing risk factor to PD, particularly among people already at risk due to other factors (e.g., family history). However, the reasons for this relationship are not clear and we also know that not everyone who plays tackle football will develop later-life neurological conditions, meaning many other risk factors are at play,” corresponding author Michael L. Alosco, PhD, associate professor of neurology at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, said in a news release.
The study is robust as it compared football players with a distinct group of athletes and concentrated on everyday players rather than just professionals, which sets it apart from previous research, the Hindustan Times reported.
“Previous research has focused on the association between American football and risk for CTE. However, similar to what has historically been seen in boxers, American football might also affect risk for other neurodegenerative conditions such as PD,” said the study’s first author, Hannah Bruce.
Published by Medicaldaily.com