According to a report released on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life _ evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in almost all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. Combat veterans and athletes in rough contact sports like football and boxing are among those thought to be most at risk.
Although the study revealed a high proportion of the players had CTE, the authors point out several limitations of the study. Admittedly, this study looked at brains donated by the families of deceased athletes, many of whom may have suspected that their loved ones had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. While he says the lasting effects of the concussions seem to be minimal, he knows of other former college players who suffer from migraines and other issues related to head injuries sustained during football.
It is clear from these and other studies that concussion, and the long-term neurological damage that results from these traumatic brain injuries, is a serious problem in football and other high impact sports.
While they caution that the results need to be verified and future study is warranted, they say that there is little doubt that playing football can be devastating to athletes' brain health, no matter what level they're playing at.
CTE commonly causes symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia.
In some instances, the effects of CTE can be seen while a player is still alive, like when former Buccaneers defensive tackle Brian Price had to be subdued in a parking after turning over display cases in an auto parts store and then jumping through the store's glass door.
New ones include retired tight end Frank Wainright, whose 10-year National Football League career included stints with the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens.
Shepard also said he expects his 14-month-old son to grow up wanting to play football. "It's like a storm that you can't quite get out of", his wife said. They are one of the most frequent brain injuries, occurring more than 1.5 million times a year in the United States; 100,000 of these injuries occur in football alone, at the professional, collegiate, and even high school levels.
"Some people have heads made of concrete, and it doesn't really affect some of those guys", he said.
The researchers said that the severity of CTE symptoms seemed to primarily be based on how long players were active in the sport, with high school players tending to have mild pathology and college, semi-professional, and professional players having severe pathology.
A new report shows just how risky football and repeated blows to the head can be. He was not included in the current report.
The median age of death for players with mild CTE was 44 years. There were 18 suicides among the 177 diagnosed.
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