Recent Study Finds CTE In 99 Percent of Deceased NFL Players


Over the past few years, it seems we’ve seen a high number of former NFL players struggling during their post-career lives as the effects of head trauma begin to take its toll on them. Most deal with it, while others have tragically committed suicide.

CTE. We’ve all heard about this disease for years now and it was recently discovered in 99 percent of the brains of deceased NFL players, according to a study from JamaNetwork.

Question  What are the neuropathological and clinical features of a case series of deceased players of American football neuropathologically diagnosed as having chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)?

Findings  In a convenience sample of 202 deceased players of American football from a brain donation program, CTE was neuropathologically diagnosed in 177 players across all levels of play (87%), including 110 of 111 former National Football League players (99%).

It gets worse, as signs of CTE were found in high school and college football players as well. Three of 14 high school players also showed signs of the brain disease, as well as 48 of 53 college players. 

“The fact that chronic traumatic encephalopathy was so common adds to our concern about the safety of playing football and the risk of developing neurologic symptoms later in life,” says neurologist Gil Rabinovici of the University of California. This “hovers like a dark cloud over the game at all levels, even if the study cannot address how frequent the disease is, or who is at risk.”

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to diagnose CTE while someone is alive. It can only be diagnosed with an autopsy.

Former San Diego Chargers LB Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012, had his brain examined.  It tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia, memory loss, and depression.

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