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  1. #1

    NFL brain study diagnoses CTE in 99% of deceased players' brains

    The biggest ever study into football brain injuries has diagnosed CTE in 99 percent of former NFL players' brains in post-mortem examinations.

    Boston University is leading the groundbreaking and ambitious research project to identify whether there is a direct link between concussions on the field and neurodegenerative diseases in players - including the late Aaron Hernandez.

    They are focusing on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a little-understood condition a progressive neurodegeneration associated with repetitive head trauma. It has been linked to ALS (also called 'locked-in syndrome') and Alzheimer's.

    Now, the team has released their first major findings from post-mortem examinations on 202 deceased players' brains, which were donated to research.

    The study included a number of former NFL players, including Bubba Smith, Ken Stabler, Frank Wainright, Dave Duerson, and Junior Seau.

    They also interviewed next-of-kin to learn about each player's clinical symptoms, to compare with their findings.

    The players, who lived to an average of 66 years old, had all played for a median of 15 years - from high school to professional leagues.

    Overall, 177 of the brains they analyzed (87 percent) had CTE.

    It was by far the most prevalent among NFL players: they found 110 of the 111 NFL players in the study (99 percent) had the hallmarks of CTE.

    College players had the second-highest rate, with 48 out of 53 college players' brains (91 percent) diagnosed with CTE.

    They also diagnosed CTE in seven out of eight Canadian Football League players (88 percent), nine out of 14 semi-professional players (64 percent), and three out of 14 high school players (21 percent).

    All three of the high school players had mild CTE.
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  2. #2
    I saw this last week and it certainly is troubling. It's hard to deny the link between CTE and football.

    I'd like to read their full paper (if it's been released yet) and see what their study actually consisted of. The sample size they use is pretty small but pro-football brains are in limited supply. So, they only have what they have. What would interest me more would be to see if they used any controls. I would assume they would examine the brains of non-football people and look for signs of CTE in them. It would be valuable to know how frequent it is from normal non-football related activities. I have no doubt that football greatly increases the likelihood of CTE...but I highly doubt that 95% of football players have it and only 2% of everybody else does. The key is knowing how big of a risk factor football is. To me, a control is the missing piece of this article. Of course, this is a news article and not a published medical who knows what details they left out.

  3. #3
    This is certainly a serious matter, and no denying the link between a contact sport like football and head trauma. I keep hearing this on TV and cant help but think it is a little misleading. Correct me if I am wrong, but the brains tested in this study were all from people with suspected CTE. So it is more of a confirmation. This was not a study of say 100 random brains from deceased football players. I suspect that study would also yield a high percentage of CTE, but maybe not in the 90s.

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