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Brain structure changes in elite rugby players – The Drake Rugby Biomarker Study

The Drake Rugby Biomarker Study is a project that takes bodily fluid samples and neuroimaging data from professional rugby players to investigate any changes associated with participation in elite rugby. These latest results from the study involve looking at the brain imaging data and assessing whether there are any changes in the structures of the brains of professional rugby players when compared to both athletes in non-collision sports and non-athletes.

Journalists came to the SMC to hear from two of the authors of this new study about what they found, what this research can and can’t tell us about the impact of professional rugby on the brain, and what further research now needs to be done. They were joined by a consultant neurologist who was able help answer wider questions they had on rugby related head injuries.

The study has been published in the journal Brain Communications.


Speakers included:

Prof David Sharp, Professor of Neurology, Imperial College London

Prof Huw Morris, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences, UCL

Dr Richard Sylvester, Consultant Neurologist, National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery and Homerton University Hospital


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.

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