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Concussions in NFL players linked to erectile dysfunction: Harvard study



A player is carted off of the field after sustaining a concussion on an NFL game.

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

Head trauma in former NFL players may be linked to low testosterone and erectile dysfunction later in life, according to a study by Harvard researchers.

More than 3,400 former professional football players, were surveyed by investigators at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School as part of the University's ongoing Football Players Health Study. Erectile dysfunction and low testosterone levels.

20 years ago, "said Andrea Roberts, one of the study's senior authors.

The study was published Monday in JAMA Neurology.

Of all the study's participants, 1

8% reported low testosterone, almost 23% reported ED and slightly less than 10% of participants reported symptoms

Players who reported the most concussion symptoms had nearly twice the risk of ED. Notably, those with a few concussion symptoms had elevated risk for low testosterone, which suggests that there may be no safe threshold for head trauma.

Those findings did not change based on the player's position on the field either.

There was never enough noise – we had 10 position category and just did not see any effect, "said Rachel Grashow, the study's lead author. [19659002] That ED risk persisted even when researchers accounted for other possible causes for the condition.

ED, hypertension, obesity, cholesterol, depression, anxiety, "said Grashow. "Grashow." [Grashow.]

One of the reasons for this was that the brain's pituitary gland causes problems

That explanation is echoed in previous studies that saw higher ED risks and neurohormonal dysfunction among people with trauma and traumatic brain injury, including military veterans and civilians with head injuries.

The researchers They are observational – based on self-reported concussion symptoms and indirect measures of ED and low testosterone.

"This is definitely a gateway study," said Grashow.

You have not done that, but it has not been done finding.

"The findings suggest that sleep apnea and use of prescription pain medication contribute to low testosterone," said Grashow.

Grashow hopes the findings will help to destigmatize the issue for NFL players and push to get help.

] The research was supported by the National Football League Players Association. The Football Players Health Study examines various aspects of players' health over the course of their lives.


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