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Old football injuries found decades later in brain images

Following a mild stroke several years ago, my doctor ordered imaging studies of my brain. These studies found evidence of bilateral brain injuries sustained from concussions when playing football when I was in high school. In the late 1950s, the helmets were less well padded, and as a second-string defensive lineman, I was a “practice dummy” for more athletically gifted teammates and competitors.

Although those injuries, unrecognized at the time, did not interfere from my graduating medical school and eventually teaching in a local medical school, my health improved substantially once I received appropriate, however belated, treatment for what is now called traumatic encephalopathy.

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Coincidentally, after reading “Concussions put scrutiny on youth football” (Page A1, Oct. 24), I opened the lead article in one of my journals, “Diagnosis and Treatment of Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injury,” which provided directions on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for this underrecognized syndrome.

Dr. Michael L. Johnson


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