Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Scientific Reports


Football has one of the highest incidence rates of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) among contact sports; however, the effects of repeated sub-concussive head impacts on brain structure and function remain under-studied. We assessed the association between biomarkers of mTBI and structural and functional MRI scans over an entire season among non-concussed NCAA Division I linemen and non-linemen. Concentrations of S100B, GFAP, BDNF, NFL, and NSE were assessed in 48 collegiate football players (32 linemen; 16 non-linemen) before the start of pre-season training (pre-camp), at the end of pre-season training (pre-season), and at the end of the competitive season (post-season). Changes in brain structure and function were assessed in a sub-sample of 11 linemen and 6 non-linemen using structural and functional MRI during the execution of Stroop and attention network tasks. S100B, GFAP and BDNF concentrations were increased at post-season compared to pre-camp in linemen. White matter hyperintensities increased in linemen during pre-season camp training compared to pre-camp. This study showed that the effects of repeated head impacts are detectable in the blood of elite level non-concussed collegiate football players exposed to low-moderate impacts to the heads, which correlated with some neurological outcomes without translating to clinically-relevant changes in brain anatomy or function.

PubMed ID






Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.