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Head injuries in one football season cause measurable brain damage

For college athletes who get through their sport’s season concussion-free, new research suggests it may be too early to breathe a sigh of relief.

Following a season of grueling practices and hard-fought games, football and ice hockey players who had no outward sign of head trauma showed worrisome changes in brain structure and cognitive performance that weren’t shared by athletes who competed in varsity sports such as track, crew and cross-country skiing, according to a report published Wednesday in the journal Neurology.

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