Researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University have published a sobering study showing that almost 96% of NFL player they examined, and 78% of all football players, suffer from the degenerative disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
The Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University is the largest brain-focused research center for the study of traumatic head injury in the USA.
In their study, 87 out of 91 former NFL players tested came back positive for CTE.
They also examined brain tissue in 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school, and found that 131 of them, 79%, tested positive for CTE.
Forty-percent of those who tested positive were the offensive and defensive linemen who come into contact with one another on every play.
The major takeaway here: These findings, along with past research, suggest that repeated minor head trauma could poses more risk to players than occasional, violent collisions usually associated with concussions.
Dr. Ann McKee, the facility’s director and chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System, had this to say of the study’s findings:
“People think that we’re blowing this out of proportion, that this is a very rare disease and that we’re sensationalizing it. My response is that where I sit, this is a very real disease. We have had no problem identifying it in hundreds of players.”
An NFL spokesperson made this statement on behalf of the league:
“We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues.”
Source: AccMag · Photo Credit: KEYSTONE PRESS