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High Rate of Brain Disease in Deceased NFL Players

Posted On: 07-28-2017
High Rate of Brain Disease in Deceased NFL Players
In a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was found in 110 of 111 deceased National Football League (NFL) players. Researchers found this degenerative brain disease in players who had donated their brains to science after death.

The same disease was found in 91 percent of college football players, 88 percent of Canadian Football League players, and 21 percent of high school football players. In total, the study looked at autopsy results of 202 brains. Of those, 177 of the brains had CTE. In general, the more severe cases were found at the higher levels of the game. For example, high school football players had more mild cases of CTE. The study also revealed that the occurrence of CTE did not seem to depend on the position that had been played in football.

According to Dr. Daniel Daneshvar, a researcher at the Boston University School of Medicine’s CTE Center and the study’s co-author, these findings are concerning due to the large number of men who have professionally played the sport.

CTE is most common in individuals who have experienced repetitive brain trauma. In an autopsy, it presents as brain damage and protein clumps. According to previous studies, both concussions and jarring impacts can contribute to an increased risk. The disease can lead to mood disorders, behavioral problems, depression, impaired judgment, confusion, paranoia, memory loss, and more.

More testing is needed to determine the cause and effect relationship. Additionally, CTE can only be diagnosed after death, which makes understanding it more difficult.

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