Truls Straume-Næsheim will defend his PhD thesis ”Head Impacts in Football” for the PhD degree on Friday, the 9th of May, 2008. The introductory lecture is titled "How does the normal brain respond to strenuous physical activity and how does this compare to the injured brain?"
Truls was born on the 10th of June in 1976 and was raised in Strømmen, near Oslo. He is educated as medical doctor at the University of Bergen. Truls started his PhD period at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in 2004. Professor dr. med. Roald Bahr and dr. med Thor Einar Andersen have been his supervisors.
Background and aim for the studies
Cross-section studies have indicated declined brain function among footballers. Heading of the ball was earlier suggested as the cause, but recent investigations advocate head traumas as a more likely aetiology. The main objective of this study was to examine the effect of minor head impacts in professional football with respect to biochemical signs of neuronal tissue damage (serum concentration of protein S100B) or reduced neuropsychological function (computerised neuropsychological test, CogSport).
All players in the Norwegian elite football league, Tippeligaen, were tested prior to the 2004 and 2005 seasons. A player who experienced a head impact during a league match was followed up with blood sampling within one hour after the match and the following morning along with a neuropsychological follow-up test. A group of players without head impact was also tested after a league match to serve as controls.
No evidence for significant brain injury
At baseline we found no effect of previous concussions and self-reported heading exposure. In addition, 96.1% revealed no evidence of cognitive impairments when compared to normative data.
We registered 228 head impacts during the 2004 and 2005 football seasons. However, <30% of these were followed up with a shift towards the more severe impacts. Still, only seven concussions were reported.
Minor head impacts did not cause an additional increase in the S100B level beyond what was measured after a regular match and all serum S100B values were below what is measured for hospital-admitted minor head trauma patients. Thus, there is no evidence suggesting that there is significant brain tissue injury associated with minor head impacts in football. However, an acute reduction in neuropsychological performance was found. In addition, the test performance was reduced from one year to the next in footballers who had experienced head impacts during the season, but all tests were within the normal range. Consequently, the clinical significance of this finding is uncertain.
1. opponent: Professor dr. med Paul McCrory, Shoreham Victoria, Australia
2. opponent: Professor dr. med. Tor Ingebrigtsen, Tromsø University Hospital
3. member of the commitee: Professor dr. philos. Inger Holm, Department for Health Sciences, University of Oslo, Norway
Leader: Professor dr. med. Johan K. Stanghelle, Faculty division Ullevål University Hospital, University of Oslo
Kl. 10.15-11.00 Trial lecture: "How does the normal brain respond to strenuous physical activity and how does this compare to the injured brain?"
Kl. 13.00-16.00 PhD defence: "Head Impacts in Football"