A new study has found that brain disease CTE is trending among NFL players as 91 former NFL players have agreed to donate their brains to scientific research, after their death. Field experts found that 87 of them tested positive for CTE, a condition linked to repeated head injuries, as well as concussions.
• Researchers explain the cause and dangers of CTE.
• Researchers inform which players are most likely to suffer from the brain disease.
• Researchers point at the limitations of their study.
• Famous NFL players known to suffer from CTE.
• What a safer game might look like.
A team of researchers from Boston University and the Department of Veterans Affairs gave a statement to PBS’s Frontline saying that 96 percent (96%) of the deceased NFL Players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease believed to be the result of head trauma.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been known to lead to impaired judgment, memory loss, confusion, poor impulse control, depression, aggression, and eventually progressive dementia.
What’s more, the research team also looked at the brains of 165 living subjects who played football either in high school, in college, semi-professionally, or professionally. They concluded that 131 of these subjects also had chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
It’s worth mentioning that 40 percent (40%) of the 131 living subjects who tested positive for the degenerative disease were defensive and offensive linemen, players with the habit of coming into contact with each other on a regular basis.
The new study backs up earlier research which found that minor but frequently repeated head traumas pose a greater threat to football players than the violent collisions which result in concussions.
While the findings are undeniable, the researchers did admit that their study had a few limitations. First off, chronic traumatic encephalopathy can only be identified with 100 percent (100%) certainty after the subject has died.
The NFL players who donate their brains to scientific research only did so because they already suspected that they suffered from the degenerative disease. This left field experts looking at a skewed population.
But what the new study did manage to do is reinforce the idea that there’s a powerful link between long term brain disease and playing football.
Many famous NFL players have been known to be affected by chronic traumatic encephalopathy – Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, and Ray Easterling. All three (3) ended up ending their own lives.
Additionally, Sidney Rice and Chris Borland announced their early retirement since last year, due to growing concerns about their brain health.
The NFL is actively trying to make the game safer for their players, however change may take some time. A statement given to Frontline by one of their spokesmen revealed that the NFL is “dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources”.
They also promised to continue financing researchers in an attempt to better understand these issues.
Image Source: pixabay.com