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Unexpected Consequences of Concussion

August 28, 2019

Concussions are one of our program’s top research priorities. While we are conducting several studies to examine how concussions may affect brain health, we are also exploring how head trauma can impact other key areas of former player health. Below, you will find our findings regarding concussions’ potential impact on sexual health, along with some action steps and resources to help individuals address these issues.

What the Science Says

Our analysis of 3,400 former players indicates that concussions and other conditions that disproportionately affect former NFL players may have adverse effects on sexual health. Specifically, we found that:

Studies of military veterans and boxers yielded similar findings regarding head trauma and sexual dysfunction. Strong associations between head injury and ED have also been found in civilians with just a single traumatic brain injury. This evidence, along with our findings, suggest that ED and hormone dysfunction are, in part, physically-based issues brought on by repeated head injury.

The graph below is an illustration of the relationship between ED and loss of consciousness – one of the 10 concussion symptoms we studied. It demonstrates how the percentage of players with ED changes as the number of loss of consciousness events increases.

Potential Action Steps

Although this topic requires further study, there are many things you can do to improve your sexual health now.


Below are external resources that may help you be proactive about your sexual and overall health.

If you have questions about the information above or would like to learn more about the Study’s other research on concussions, please call (617.432.5000) or email us. We welcome your questions and feedback.

Read the paper: Association of Concussion Symptoms With Testosterone Levels and Erectile Dysfunction in Former Professional US-Style Football Players