BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: SWI is an advanced imaging modality that is especially useful in cerebral microhemorrhage detection. Such microhemorrhages have been identified in adult contact sport athletes, and the sequelae of these focal bleeds are thought to contribute to neurodegeneration. The purpose of this study was to utilize SWI to determine whether the prevalence and incidence of microhemorrhages in adolescent football players are significantly greater than those of adolescent noncontact athletes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Preseason and postseason SWI was performed and evaluated on 78 adolescent football players. SWI was also performed on 27 adolescent athletes who reported no contact sport history. Two separate one-tailed Fisher exact tests were performed to determine whether the prevalence and incidence of microhemorrhages in adolescent football players are greater than those of noncontact athlete controls. RESULTS: Microhemorrhages were observed in 12 football players. No microhemorrhages were observed in any controls. Adolescent football players demonstrated a significantly greater prevalence of microhemorrhages than adolescent noncontact controls (P=.02). Although 2 football players developed new microhemorrhages during the season, microhemorrhage incidence during 1 football season was not statistically greater in the football population than in noncontact control athletes (P=.55). CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent football players have a greater prevalence of microhemorrhages compared with adolescent athletes who have never engaged in contact sports. While microhemorrhage incidence during 1 season is not significantly greater in adolescent football players compared to adolescent controls, there is a temporal association between playing football and the appearance of new microhemorrhages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology