Using MRI to study the brains of young female athletes has helped researchers develop an objective way to monitor a concussion injury. By using a technique that combines both structural and functional MRI information, Western University researchers were able to identify three unique signatures – one that shows acute brain changes after an athlete has suffered a concussion, another that can identify persistent brain changes six months after the concussion, and a third that shows evidence of concussion history.
The authors point out that there is growing evidence of persistent changes in the brain that last well beyond clinical recovery and clearance to return to play. This study confirmed those findings showing clear brain changes in both structure and function that persisted six-months after injury. They also showed that these persistent brain changes related to concussion history, even in healthy athletes.