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Players with CTE Doubled Risk of Brain Damage with Every 5.3 Years Playing Football

Players with CTE Doubled Risk of Brain Damage with Every 5.3 Years Playing Football

A new study shows that former professional football players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated concussions, doubled their risk of developing the worst forms of the disease for every 5.3 years they played. According to a report in The New York Times, scientists have known that spending more years playing tackle football is associated with thinking and memory deficits later in life. This study builds on that research. But, for the first time, it calculated the number of years played with measurable brain damage levels.

What the Study Found

The new study’s retrospective analysis was largely based on brains found to have CTW that were donated to researchers at Boston University, which has led research in this area. The findings were based on the lives of 266 former amateur and professional football players whose brains were donated to the CTE Center at Boston University.

The study found that the risk of developing CTE increased by 30% each year when surveying all the players, including those who did not develop the disease. Family members explained how long the brain donors played football and other sports. The study found that for those who played fewer than 4.5 years, the chance of developing CTE was about one-tenth of what it was for those who played longer. Those who played over 14.5 years were ten times more likely to develop CTE than those who played fewer years.

Challenges in Understanding CTE

The problem with studying and researching CTE lies in the fact that it can only be diagnosed after the person’s death. The accumulation of tau protein in some brain regions serves as a marker for it. CTE has been linked to various problems, including depression, dementia, mood swings, impulse control issues, and suicidal thoughts. Right now, no test can diagnose CTE in the living. So, researchers have been trying to reconstruct the lives of deceased players to determine the risk factors that might have contributed to their development.

We know much more about the effect concussions can have on the brain. Where years ago, concussions were believed to be “mild” traumatic brain injuries, we know today that repeated concussions could have devastating effects on the human brain. Schools, colleges, and sports teams must know these facts and take precautions with athletes. If you or a loved one has suffered brain damage or traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, please get in touch with an experienced sports brain injury lawyer to understand your legal rights better.


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