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Abstract #2399

Assessing Functional and Structural Connectivity in ex-Professional Athletes

Mitchell W. Doughty1, Michael D. Noseworthy1,2, Rober Boshra1, Kyle I. Ruiter3, and John F. Connolly1,3

1School of Biomedical Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada, 2Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, McMaster University, 3Department of Linguistics and Languages, McMaster University

Recently there has been considerable attention directed towards the increased risk for head injuries that athletes face while participating in high impact sports. Furthermore, there is also heightened interest in asymptomatic sub-concussive blows that possibly lead to long term neurological deficits. The goal of this study was to investigate retired professional athletes, who played at least 4 seasons of Canadian football, using functional connectivity mapping and DTI techniques. When compared to an age matched control population, differences were observed both in functional and structural connectivity, suggesting that even years after retiring the brain still exhibits signs of damage.

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