Right after the violent opening weekend to the 2015 NFL season, a study concluded that 87 out of 91 former NFL players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a degenerative brain disease heavily associated with repeated concussions. The study conducted by the Boston University and Department of Veteran Affairs autopsied 91 former NFL players, that means a shocking 96% of the players had the disease.
The study began in 1993 and ended this week. Researchers say that 131 of the total 165 football player’s brains were studied. To put the results into stats, that means that a whooping 79% of them suffered from CTE. The study did not only look at the brains of football players but also at other sport practitioners, such as of professional tennis and soccer players. However, football players seem to be affected to a stronger degree than other types of sports men.
Doctors and researchers from all over the world believe CTE is prevalent in people who receive repeated blows to the head. Considering how dangerous and impact heavy football can be there is no surprise that NFL players are so affected by the disease. CTE is associated with memory loss, aggression, depression, and lack of impulse control – among other traits that often sportsmen are stereotyped with.
CTE can only be diagnosed accordingly by autopsy. And while the results of the study are alarming, the researchers at the University of Boston and Department of Veteran Affairs only autopsied former players that thought they may have been suffering of such symptoms, and agreed to donate their organs.
What that means is that the researchers worked with biased samples. Therefore the new study cannot prove cause and effect that the majority of football players are suffering from CTE. Nonetheless, the study still stands as an important step towards understanding how chronic traumatic encephalopathy establishes in people in a relatively new medical field.
After 10 time All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide back in 2012, autopsy results concluded that CTE was found in his brain. In the book “League of Denial” you can find important research of CTE and its symptoms. The book will be soon adapted into a movie starring Will Smith, called “Concussion.”
Ever since Junior Seau’s suicide and the 2013 release of “League of Denial”, CTE has become a more and more prominent topic for media publications. Many football players have started retiring from the sport due to concerns about their long-term health.
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