Large report shows brain disease seen in most football players

Lawrence Cooper
July 28, 2017

Researchers based their report on brain autopsies of the players and interviewed family members and friends about the symptoms players had experienced. Its a question more parents are considering after a recent study found 90 percent of brain samples left to science by former pro football players showed signs chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE - a degenerative brain disease linked to concussions.

Safety advocates have long decried contact sports like hockey and football for causing irreparable, long-term damage to athletes at all levels.

Other published studies list suicide as a clinical feature of the disease, but McKee said more research needs to be done before a correlation is established.

In all, the researchers looked at 202 brains that belonged to football players at all levels. Most worrisome, even among those who only played football in high school, almost a quarter of them tested positive for that disease.

Former NFL player and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez is suspected of having suffered with CTE (Picture: Steven Senne/Pool/Prensa Int/REX/Shutterstock)What are the symptoms of CTE? The disease was not found in brains from two younger players.

Would you let your kids play football? CTE was present in 87 percent.

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"The medical and scientific communities will benefit from this publication and the National Football League will continue to work with a wide range of experts to improve the health of current and former National Football League athletes". Among NFL players, 95 of the 110 diagnosed cases were severe. Wainright died in April 2016 at age 48 from a heart attack triggered by bleeding in the brain, said his wife, Stacie.

The symptoms of CTE may not appear for many years after retirement, but when they do manifest the typical symptoms include memory loss, impaired judgment, impulse and anger control issues, depression and early onset of dementia as well as anxiety, depression and suicidal impulses.

"A lot of families are really tragically affected by it - not even mentioning what these men are going through and they're really not sure what is happening to them".

The NFL has pledged to improve helmets and a year ago promised $100 million for concussion-related research.

"That's not really my field", he said.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published a report Tuesday that found chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, was diagnosed in 177 former players, or almost 90 percent of brains studied. He believes the league and the players are becoming more concerned with the after effects of the game and possibilities of developing CTE in the years after leaving the game.

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