TIME Sports

Football Head Impacts Can Cause Brain Changes Even Without Concussion

Tetra Images - Erik Isakson—Getty Images/Brand X

New study looks at high school athletes

As the world mourns the loss of Ohio State University football player Kosta Karageorge, who was found dead in an apparent suicide on Nov. 30, concerns about the long term effects of head injuries sustained by footballers continue to mount. A day after Karageorge’s death, a study has been released that suggests sports-related head impacts can cause changes in the brain even when there are no outward signs of a concussion.

In fact, researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., say some high school football players in the study exhibited measurable brain changes after a single season of play, even in the absence of concussion.

The Wake Forest team, lead by Dr. Christopher Whitlow, focused on youth players, a group that until now had been widely overlooked in the research into the effects of the repetitive head impacts associated with a typical season of football. “For every one NFL player, there are 2,000 youth players. That’s close to four million youth players and the vast majority of research on impact-related brain injuries has been on the college and professional level,” says Dr. Whitlow, noting that two-thirds of head impacts occur in practice sessions, not games.

Read More: High School Football Player Dies After Injury

In the first-of-its-kind study, the researchers hooked up 24 high school football players between the ages of 16 and 18 with helmet-mounted sensors to assess the frequency and severity of helmet impacts and then sent them out to play ball. As the players hit the field, the sensors allowed the researchers to monitor the severity of players’ head impacts. The team collected data from the helmets before and after every game and the high school students also underwent pre- and post-season diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) of the brain. “We looked at both structural and functional neuro-imaging and evaluated the players’ neuro-cognitive function,” he says.

“We found some changes in the brain that are concerning,” said Dr. Whitlow. “They are concerning because kids with more impacts had more changes and the kids with fewer impacts had fewer changes.”

While none of the football players were concussed during the season, the researchers found that there were microstructural changes in all of the players’ brains, especially in those players who were deemed “heavy hitters.” That direct correlation between game-related hits and changes in the brain is not exactly surprising, but may be unsettling for parents of youth football players.

Read More: The Tragic Risks of American Football

Not that Dr. Whitlow wants people to pull their kids from the peewee leagues or ban high school football just yet. “The high school athletes weren’t experiencing any of the classic symptoms of concussion—dizziness, nausea or double vision,” he says. “While the changes in the brains are concerning, because there were no symptoms of concussions, we don’t yet know how important these changes are.”

Dr. Whitlow sees the results of the study as only the first step in identifying a potential problem with allowing youth players to continue to play ball. He and his team want to determine whether these changes in the brain are permanent or transient and whether they are associated with subtle changes in neuro-cognitive functions. “Once we can identify risks, we can intervene to reduce those risks,” he says. Interventions could include improvements in technology and helmet safety, identifying maneuvers that could be particularly dangerous, making changes in the diagnoses of head injuries and identifying subtle changes that could be harmful.

So what’s a parent to do? Dr. Whitlow suggests they get involved in their kids’ practices. “You have to put these risks in the context of the health-related benefits of playing sports. The take home message is that parents need to use common sense. The best thing for parents to do is know what is going on on the field, know the symptoms of concussions, get to know the coaches, find out if there is a trainer on the field who can diagnose concussions.” He also directed parents to SaveInjuredKids.org for ideas on how to reduce head injuries and to learn to identify the signs of concussion.

“Football is the great American pastime,” said Dr. Whitlow. “I think it’s going to be around for another hundred years and what we’re trying to do is make it safer.”

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TIME Videos

When It Comes to Frozen, This Dog Can’t ‘Let It Go’ Either

Whether he hates it or loves it, he just can't stop singing it

Oakley the dog is no fan of Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” and has an uncanny ability to sleep right through the catchy track. But, the pup’s catnap comes to an abrupt halt when the opening dulcet strains of Frozen track “Let It Go” start up.

On the first note the dog’s ears perk up, turning this way and that like adorable satellite dishes seeking a signal. By the time the opening bars have started, Oakley’s eyes are wide open and when Idina Menzel begins to sing, the pup’s head is up and he is seemingly trying to sing along with the chorus of the omnipresent song.

While in the commentary on the video, the puppy’s owner claims this is Oakley’s favorite song, it’s unclear whether he is actually enjoying the tune or trying to make the dreaded earworm stop — at least until the Frozen sequel, which is still only a rumor, hits theaters.

Either way, Oakley is still better at singing “Let It Go” than Ben Affleck.

 

TIME Music

Lana Del Rey and Courtney Love Will Tour Together This Summer

Celebrity Sightings In Austin - October 11, 2014
Singer Lana Del Rey is seen performing during the 2014 Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 11, 2014 in Austin, Texas. C Flanigan—GC Images/Getty Images

The Endless Summer tour hits the road in 2015

Lana Del Rey is hitting the road this summer to bring her sad songs to stadiums across America, and she’s bringing along with her a “very, very special guest” (that’s two verys, according to the press release) — Courtney Love.

Del Rey will be touring in support of her sophomore album Ultraviolence while Love, the frontwoman of Hole, may be performing songs off her long-awaited next solo album, which is expected to surface sometime in 2015.

The combination of Del Rey and Love — two divas of simmering dysfunction and undeniable talent— should make for a memorable, albeit brief, tour: they have just eight joint tour dates planned so far. Hopefully Love will join Del Rey for a few bars of “Money Power Glory,” and Del Rey can whisper seductively through “Celebrity Skin.”

One can only hope that Love’s daughter — Frances Bean Cobain — will be back stage hollering at both women to go on. Last year Cobain staged a Twitter intervention for the Born to Die singer, reminding her that dying young is nothing to romanticize.

See the tour dates below:

5/07 – The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
5/09 – Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
5/12 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
5/14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion
5/16 – Chula Vista, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheater
5/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
5/20 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
5/22 – Ridgefield, WA @ Sleep Country Amphitheater

TIME celebrity

Ellen DeGeneres Plays Anastasia Steele in Hilarious Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Parody

Christian Grey has finally found his soul mate.

Sultry, sexy, steamy. Those are all adjectives people use to describe mega-hit Fifty Shades of Grey. But those are not words normally associated with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres — until now.

DeGeneres just unveiled her own part in the erotic bestseller turned Hollywood film on her show Ellen, and it’s a winner. While Fifty Shades claims to have cast Dakota Johnson as the film’s wide-eyed lead, Anastasia Steele, DeGeneres revealed that it’s all been a ruse, and she is actually the star of the film and has the trailer to prove it.

In the clip, DeGeneres stares balefully at the film’s charismatic and chiseled male protagonist, Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan), as she interviews him in his austere offices, watches him play piano and kisses him on the streets of Seattle. With just one glance at DeGeneres as Anastasia Steele, it’s clear that poor, troubled Christian Grey has finally met his true soul mate—as long as she gets the popcorn off her face.

MORE:

Check Out the New Photo From the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

Here’s the Frozen and Fifty Shades of Grey Mashup Nobody Asked For

TIME Television

Dancing With the Stars Watch: And the Winner Is …

JANEL PARRISH, VAL CHMERKOVSKIY
Adam Taylor—ABC

Nick Jonas, Meghan Trainor and Jennifer Hudson help ring in the winner of Season 19

It’s the finale of Season 19 of Dancing With the Stars, and that means either Duck Dynasty scion Sadie Robertson, Pretty Little Liar Janel Parrish, or Fresh Prince star and The Carleton creator Alfonso Ribeiro will be crowned the winner.

As Dancing With the Stars winds to a close, the only silver lining is that tonight we will finally get to the bottom of one of television’s deepest mysteries. Tonight we will not only determine who will win this popularity-cum-talent competition, but answer the real mystery of how the producers will kill two hours (three if you include the one-hour Road to the Finals special) of prime-time television for what is essentially an announcement that should take four minutes max.

So who will take home the Mirror Ball Trophy? Will the producers give it to Val Chmerkovskiy, because he’s been waiting and waiting for a win? Did Sadie’s Quack Pack flood the phone lines? Will Alfonso pull his groin putting the trophy on his mantelpiece? The only way to find out is to watch (or read this recap).

Here’s what happened on the extremely long finale of Dancing With the Stars:

Bethany Mota and Derek Hough: While Bethany and Derek were voted off the show last night, they are back in the finale because the voting audience is filled with indecisive sociopaths who want their cake and to eat it too. So Bethany and Derek were kicked off and then forced to return to the ballroom for another go-round in the Thunderdome, albeit this time without the pressure of worrying about Len’s wrath.

Memory lane: Remember when Randy Couture, Tavis Smiley, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Lolo Jones were on the show? The correct response is: Barely! Lolo was the first to leave, because while the Olympian could bobsled and hurdle, she couldn’t cha-cha. We all have our skill sets and Lolo’s was not competitive dancing. She can cry herself to sleep at night while doing the Scrooge McDuck backstroke through her Olympic medals.

Nick Jonas: Nick Jonas, currently known as The Most Relevant Jonas, showed up to sing his latest hit and remind the world that he is now hot. It worked!

Allison Holker and Jonathan Bennett: Allison, who was a new addition to the group of pros this season, brought her So You Think You Can Dance star husband Stephen “Twitch” Boss to basically show Jonathan (and the rest of the cast) how it’s done.

The outtakes: The entire blooper reel was basically just hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews cracking everyone up. Never forget that host Tom is a hilarious man, and while ex-host Brooke Burke-Charvet was excellent at holding a microphone while pointing it in the right direction, it’s nice that this season brought Erin on board, and Tom finally has someone who can keep up with — and occasionally outshine — him in the witty-repartee department.

Jennifer Hudson: J. Hud has some serious competition in the famous Jennifers department (Jennifer Lawrence, Jennifer Lopez, to name a few) but she can sing better than all of them put together, and she proved that again, belting out her hit with Gorgon City, “I Still Love You.”

Betsey Johnson and Tony Dovolani: The designing woman repeated her slo-mo dance routine to “Material Girl,” which she again completed with a full split that undoubtedly gave shivers to her grandchildren. While Betsey’s moves didn’t make the judges rethink their decision, she was clearly just there to have more fun than anyone.

Michael Waltrip and Emma Slater: The NASCAR driver opted to repeat his “Born to Be Wild” routine, because it allowed him to stay most on-brand, while dancing with the most half-dressed women, which will give him full bragging rights for when he gets back to the racetrack.

Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev: Lea decided to relive her favorite moment a.k.a. the one where she got to wear a cheetah-print costume and play alpha animal to both Artem and Keo.

Artem, Keo and Allison: The show introduced three new pros this season, and two out of three of them have names that stump spellcheck, suffer from either a lack or surfeit of vowels and require frequent googling. Maybe next season!

Tommy Chong and Peta Murgatroyd: Tommy relived his best moment by rolling onto the dance floor in his lowrider with his buddy Cheech and judge Len Goodman in a red tracksuit and at least two gold chains. It was pretty exciting in a watching-an-old-man-in-a-track-suit way.

Bethany and Derek, again: While they were forced to repeat their finale freestyle, they chose to dance their Kubrick-inspired paso doble for fun (a.k.a. watching Derek without a shirt).

Meghan Trainor: The “All About That Bass” singer performed “All About That Bass,” naturally.

Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas: For their final spin across the dance floor, Mark and Sadie delivered a dance that was an amalgam of samba and quickstep and seemingly several of their past routines. Len said Sadie’s journey was a “Cinderella story.” They earned a perfect 40/40, not that it matters at this point.

Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy: For their 24-hour fusion routine, Janel and Val had to combine the foxtrot/paso doble and their love for each other into a mesmerizing routine. Clearly, Val didn’t button his shirt. 40/40, sensing a trend.

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson: While some of us have been waiting all season to see if Will Smith would show up to support his Fresh Prince co-star, it’s clear that Will Smith just isn’t cool enough to be able to appreciate a cha-cha/Argentine tango fusion dance. At the end of the routine, Carrie Ann Inaba told Alfonso, “You’re like a glitter ball. My glitter ball!” 40/40, because at this point, why not?

In third place: Janel and Val. Sorry Val, your brother Maks still has one up on you.

And the winner is: Alfonso and Witney! Alfonso told TIME that he wanted to be on the show 10 years ago, and this is the ultimate nose snub to the producers who made him wait and wait and wait to fulfill his dream.

Read next: Dancing With Stars Watch: The Finale — Part 1

TIME Music

Kurt Cobain Documentary Heading to HBO in 2015

Photo of Kurt COBAIN and NIRVANA
Kurt Cobain performs live onstage in Modena, Italy on Feb. 21, 1994. Raffaella Cavalieri—Redferns/Getty Images

Montage of Heck will be the first authorized documentary about the Nirvana frontman's life

Kurt Cobain has been the subject of many films, including a fictionalized version of himself in Gus Van Sant’s Last Days and a controversial 1988 documentary called Kurt & Courtney. Now, HBO is releasing the first fully-authorized documentary of the Nirvana frontman, executive-produced by his daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.

At the helm is Brett Morgen, who worked on HBO’s Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane, as well as The Kid Stays in the Picture, which told the story of the rise and fall of notorious Hollywood producer Roger Evans. According to a press release from HBO, Morgen started working on the project years ago with the family’s blessing, combing through Cobain’s archives, watching never-before-seen home movies, listening to recordings, and digging through Cobain’s artwork, photography, journals, and songbooks..

“I started work on this project eight years ago,” says Morgen in the press release. “Like most people, when I started, I figured there would be limited amounts of fresh material to unearth. However, once I stepped into Kurt’s archive, I discovered over 200 hours of unreleased music and audio, a vast array of art projects (oil paintings, sculptures), countless hours of never-before-seen home movies, and over 4000 pages of writings that together help paint an intimate portrait of an artist who rarely revealed himself to the media.”

The feature-length film, Montage of Heck, is slated for release in 2015.

TIME celebrity

Watch Jennifer Aniston Prank a Reporter

No talking points here

Jennifer Aniston has been promoting her film Horrible Bosses 2, in which she plays a so-called dirty dentist sexually harassing one of her employees to the brink of insanity.

One of the stops on her press tour was at BBC Radio 1, where she and reporter Chris Stark are well known to each other after an adorably awkward interview with Stark went viral. (Stark is known for charmingly inept interviews—he famously almost asked Mila Kunis out on a date during the press tour for Oz the Great and Powerful.)

This time around, though, the interview with Aniston doesn’t go nearly as smoothly. In fact, it’s awkward and uncomfortable, and Aniston seems downright offended as Stark asks her seemingly harmless questions about her character and her dating habits.

That’s because, unbeknownst to Stark, Aniston is working with Scott Mills, one of his BBC Radio 1 coworkers, to pull a prank on the young reporter. It worked.

Read next: Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow Curse Each Other Out on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

TIME celebrity

Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow Curse Each Other Out on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

@#$*

There was a mini-Friends reunion on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night, but no one was very friendly.

Former Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow were both guests on Kimmel’s show as Aniston was making the rounds to promote her new film Horrible Bosses 2 and Kudrow was celebrating her comeback on The Comeback.

However instead of a joyful reunion between former cast mates, Kimmel pitted them against each other in a vicious war of words called “Celebrity Curse Off.” Each actress was given five seconds to come up with a jaw-dropping vulgarity until one of the women failed to deliver a fittingly shocking return volley.

If you can read between the beeps — and Aniston went Greek at one point – it’s an X-rated foray into diabolical language, with Kudrow getting a boost thanks to her teenaged son’s vocabulary.

Read next: Watch Jennifer Aniston Prank a Reporter

TIME viral

Watch: George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush Caught on Kiss Cam

No one can escape from the Kiss Cam

Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, were watching the Houston Texans play the Cincinnati Bengals when they were called out on the Kiss Cam. No one—not even a former president—can escape from the Kiss Cam, so America’s former first family knew that while they weren’t on the football field, they still had to play ball.

Once they realized they were on camera, the Bushes fulfilled their responsibility and shared a kiss.

It’s not the first time a former president has been featured on that Kiss Cam. Last year, George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, appeared on it as well.

MORE:

George H. W. Bush: What I’m Thankful For

All The President’s Socks: The Top 13 Pairs Worn by George H.W. Bush

TIME

Serial: What to Watch, Hear and Read If You’re Obsessed with the Podcast

HBO's "True Detective" Season 1 / Director: Cary Fukunaga
JIm Bridges—Jim Bridges/HBO

From Blood and Money to Love and Radio, here's what to do in between episodes of Serial

Serialthe addictive podcast from the team at This American Life — investigates the tragic story of the murder of Hae Min Lee and the guilt or innocence of Adnan Syed, who was convicted of the crime. Each week, a little more of the story is told as host Sarah Koenig unravels the clues, guiding listeners through hours of interviews, cell phone records, and courtroom transcripts, trying to get to the truth — or at least to a better understanding of what happened.

One problem with Serial, though, is that it only comes out once a week and for many fans, gets gobbled up in one 45-minute listening session. That leaves a lot of time without Serial. Here’s what to watch, read or listen to while you’re waiting for a new episode of the podcast — or after the series wraps in December.

Movies

1. The Paradise Lost Trilogy

The saga of the West Memphis Three is one of the most haunting true crime stories in American history. The story begins with the brutal killing of three 8 year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1993. Three metal-head teenage boys were tried and convicted for what many considered to be a Satanic ritual. The trilogy of films follows the original trials and subsequent appeals along with widespread public doubt about the guilt of the West Memphis Three, as they came to be known.

2. The Imposter

In 1994, a 13 year-old Texan boy named Nicholas Barclay disappeared. Three years later, someone claiming to be him surfaced in Spain. But was it really the missing boy or an imposter? The documentary follows the stranger-than-fiction tale of Frédéric Bourdin and the impressive lies that the charming stranger told to everyone who crossed his path.

3. The Staircase

Michael Peterson’s wife was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in the couple’s home. Did she fall or was she pushed? French filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s compelling, addictive mini-series strives to get to the bottom of what happened in their Durham, N.C., mansion, but creates more questions than answers in his searing, comprehensive documentary.

4. Dear Zachary

After Andrew Bagby was allegedly murdered by his very recent ex-girlfriend, Shirley Jane Turner, it was revealed that she was pregnant with Bagby’s child. Filmmaker Kurt Kuenne wanted to create a “cinematic scrapbook” of his friend Bagby, intended as a keepsake for Bagby’s son. Instead, Kuenne’s film captured the tragic events surrounding Turner’s arrest and became a compelling true crime documentary along the way.

Podcasts

1. Criminal

Each installment of Criminal tells a resolved criminal case — focusing on victims of crime, relationships with criminals, or just otherwise fascinating tales of criminal activity — all within a 15 to 20 minute time frame. It’s the purist’s true crime series with stories from prosecutors, crime reporters and others involved in the cases.

2. This American Life

Serial is the first spin-off from the popular radio show and podcast, and while the show is formatted differently, it’s similarly engaging. Each week (more or less) the radio show follows three or four stories, some real, some fictional, usually all related to a theme, and presents them in an easy-to-digest format. Stand-out episodes include the “The Giant Pool of Money”, which is an explainer of the sub-prime loan crisis and “Harper High School,” a two-part series on a modern urban high school. If those aren’t escapist enough, there’s always the one about the squirrel cop.

3. Love + Radio

Each episode of the podcast revolves around a theme that informs the show’s stories “from the seedy to the sublime.” The show plays like a cross between This American Life and Radiolab (which also has a great podcast) with engaging stories that are real or not, coupled with complex sound design. Highlights include their award-winning portrait of Jay Thunderbolt, a strip club manager.

4. StoryCorps

Filled with over 50,000 stories of real people, StoryCorps has something for everyone. The stories were collected as part of one of the largest oral histories in existence for the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, The stories are unveiled each week on NPR and released as a podcast that shares extraordinary stories from the lives of ordinary people.

Television

1. The Affair

The Wire’s Dominic West stars as a married man having the titular affair with a waitress played by the enchanting, sly-eyed Ruth Wilson. The story unfolds from a his-and-hers perspective, with the truth lying somewhere in between their memories of the events. The show’s first season is still unraveling, so it’s hard to know if it will live up to viewers’ expectations — but so far the show has set the bar very high.

2. Broadchurch

David Tennant (yes, the tenth Doctor) stars as a detective trying to resolve the murder of a young child in a small town, where everyone has secrets and no one seems to want to uncover the truth. Poignant performances and a devastating conclusion made the show a hit.

3. True Detective

HBO’s compelling detective show casts Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as an odd couple of detectives trying to crack a string of brutal murders with strange supernatural overtones. It was one of the buzziest shows of the year and if you’re a Serial fan, you should get caught up before the show reboots with Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell for season two.

4. Top of the Lake

Elisabeth Moss plays a Sydney-based detective who returns to her small New Zealand town and gets embroiled in a missing person case. Acclaimed filmmaker Jane Campion created the series, which brings a compelling female lead with complicated back story, a tough 12-year old girl who’s nobody’s victim, and a female-driven cult to the typical crime drama.

5. Happy Valley

This Netflix original hasn’t gotten as much publicity as Orange is the New Black, but it’s a compelling British crime story. The tense drama follows a police captain trying to save a young woman kidnapped by the man who raped her own daughter.

Books

1. Blood and Money by Thomas Thompson

The death of socialite and oil heiress Joan Robinson Hill in 1969 made waves in Houston and far beyond as her husband was convicted of her murder and married his mistress. Hill’s death was only the beginning of the story, though, and Thompson covers every twist, turn and dark secret of the sordid tale.

2. People Who Eat Darkness: the Fate of Lucie Blackman by Richard Lloyd Parry

Lucie Blackman was a 21-year-old Brit working at a “hostess bar” in Tokyo when she suddenly disappeared. Her father and sister flew to Japan to try and find out what happened to her. Parry, the Tokyo bureau chief for the Times of London, covered the case as it unfolded over months of investigations — and finally, over the course of the six year trial of the man accused of killing her.

3. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

The adventure writer turns his reporter’s eye on the horrifying double murder of a woman and her baby by two brothers convinced they received a commandment from God to commit the act. The story takes him deep into the heart of Mormon Fundamentalists, who defy the teachings of the Latter Day Saints and break the laws of state and country. It’s a darkly fascinating and ultimately unsettling tale.

4. The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy, the Shocking Inside Story by Ann Rule

Ann Rule is now one of the best known American true crime writers, but her fascination with true crime came from an unlikely source — she used to work at a suicide hotline with serial killer Ted Bundy. The book documents her relationship with Bundy, who she knew as a charismatic co-worker, but who was also a sadistic killer.

5. The Most Dangerous Animal of All: Searching for My Father . . . and Finding the Zodiac Killer by Gary L. Stewart

Gary L. Stewart set out to find his biological father, but that led him to a horrifying realization that his father may be the elusive Zodiac serial killer. It’s not just a hunch, though: During his hunt, Stewart turns up clues — including forensic evidence — that could conclusively point to his father as the notorious Zodiac Killer. It’s a sensational story that crafts a compelling case and a disconcerting portrait of a murder.

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