OK, here’s the article…
<b>Should Football Require Creatine to Prevent Brain Concussion?</b>
Troy Aikman, the Dallas Cowboy quarterback, recently announced his retirement after suffering nine concussions including four in the last two seasons.
A recent survey of retired NFL football players shows that Troy probably made a good decision. In that study sponsored by the players association, 60% of players experienced at least one concussion during their playing career and 26% had suffered three or more concussions.
Players who had suffered concussions were compared to players without concussions. Those with concussions were found more likely to have neurologic problems including memory loss, speech or hearing impairments, numbness in their arms and legs, and headaches. (1)
Troy Aikman is just one of an estimated 300,000 people in the U.S. who suffer sports and recreational related head injuries each year.
Now an experiment by Dr. Steven Scheff at the University of Kentucky may provide an answer to help prevent the effects of these serious injuries.
Before an experimental head injury he fed a group of animals extra creatine in their diet to see if creatine would help protect their brain.
He found brain damage for the group taking creatine was reduced 50% compared to animals fed a regular diet. (2)
Creatine, the popular sports supplement, is widely used by athletes to gain strength and stamina. People suffering various neurodegenerative disorders such as Lou Gehrigs-ALS, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntingtons, and other neurodegenerative disorders also use creatine supplements to slow the progression of their disease.
Doctors have recently discovered creatine deficiency disorders in children that result in mental retardation, muscle weakness, and other neurologic problems. These children are helped by creatine supplementation. This has lead many to understand that creatine is necessary for healthy muscle and nerve cell function. (3)
Can extra creatine help prevent damage from brain trauma as this and other experiments suggest? If this is so, then maybe creatine supplementation should be required for athletes in all contact sports.
Dr.Scheff says that while human clinical experiments need to be done, “I will tell you that I start taking creatine before I go skiing.”
Dr. Gregory J. O’Shanick, national medical director for the Brain Injury Association is quoted as saying; “It’s something that sounds extremely interesting and tantalizing”.
Every football coach, trainer, and team physician should be familiar with this landmark study and strongly consider creatine supplementation to prevent brain damage from concussions.
Dr. Barry Jordan, Director of Brain Injury Program, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, American Academy Neurology, 52nd Annual Meeting.
Dietary supplement creatine protects against traumatic brain injury, Sullivan PG, Geiger JD, Mattson MP, Scheff SW, Ann Neurol 2000 Nov: 48:p.723-729.
Brain creatine depletion: guanidinacetate methyltransferase
deficiency (improving with creatine
supplementation). Leuzzi V et. al., Neurology 2000 Nov 14:55(9): p. 1407-1409.