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Should Football Require Creatine to Prevent Brain Concussion?

Added: (Wed May 02 2001)

Pressbox (Press Release) - For Immediate Release: May 1, 2001

Should Football Require Creatine to Prevent Brain Concussion? by Lynn
Myers MD

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.

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 to see if the supplement would protect their
brain. Creatine, the popular and controversial supplement, is widely
used by athletes to gain strength and stamina.

He found brain damage for the group taking creatine was reduced 50%
compared to animals fed a regular diet. (2)

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 consider creatine supplementation
to prevent brain damage from concussions.

Dr. Myers has written a free research report, "creatine answers for
football" available by going to
http://store.yahoo.com/nu-care/creatanforfo.html. He also serves as
an advisor to NuCare (www.nucare.com), a nutrition company that makes a creatine chewing gum and a chewable tablet.

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1. Dr. Barry Jordan, Director of Brain Injury Program, Burke
Rehabilitation Hospital, American Academy Neurology, 52nd Annual
Meeting.

2. Dietary supplement creatine protects against traumatic brain
injury, Sullivan PG, Geiger JD, Mattson MP, Scheff SW, Ann Neurol 2000
Nov: 48:p.723-729.

3. Brain creatine depletion: guanidinacetate methyltransferase
deficiency (improving with creatine supplementation). Leuzzi V et.
al., Neurology 2000 Nov 14:55(9): p. 1407-1409.

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