Research on Former NFL Players Shows 99 Percent Had Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy CTE
The study, entitled “Clinicopathological Evaluation of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in Players of American Football,” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Tuesday, July 25th. Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System analyzed the brains of 202 former football players who participated in the game at a variety of levels. The brains were evaluated post-mortem after families donated their loved ones’ brains for the purpose of further understanding this degenerative brain disease.
Among the total brains included in the study, 177 (or 87 percent) exhibited signs of CTE. Among the 14 high school players, 3 showed signs of CTE, while CTE was diagnosed in 48 of the 53 college players. Even more shocking: among the 111 brains of former NFL football players, only a single brain was not diagnosed with CTE. In other words, participants in football at the highest level overwhelmingly experienced chronic traumatic encephalopathy (99 percent).
Researchers also measured the neuropathological severity of CTE among subjects, finding that the majority of former college (56 percent), semiprofessional (56 percent), and professional (86 percent) football players had severe pathology, while former high school players demonstrated mild pathology.
The investigation also included retrospective clinical assessments to acertain symptoms that were noted during the players’ lives. Among players with mild CTE, 96 percent had behavioral or mood symptoms or both, 85 percent had cognitive symptoms, and 33 percent had signs of dementia. Additionally, among 84 players diagnosed with severe CTE, 89 percent had behavioral or mood symptoms or both, 95 percent had cognitive symptoms, and 85 percent had signs of dementia.
What is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)?
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, often referred to simply as “CTE,” is a neurodegenerative brain disease associated with repetitive head trauma, including sub-concussive impacts and concussions. CTE develops over time, as head trauma causes a protein called Tau to form in the brain, which then spreads, killing brain cells and destroying brain tissue. In the majority of cases, symptoms of CTE do not exhibit until years after the head trauma occurs.
The symptoms of CTE have been distinguished among two categories: mood and behavioral symptoms, and cognitive issues. Common mood and behavioral symptoms include: depression, anxiety, aggression/violence, impaired judgement, impulsivity, and suicidal tendencies. Cognitive symptoms of CTE include memory loss, mental confusion, and dementia.
Through this research and several others that came before it, scientists have identified a link between chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and football, as well as other high-impact sports. In fact, CTE has been commonly associated with former football players, veterans, hockey players, soccer players, rugby players, boxers, and pro wrestlers.
CTE and Brain Injury Lawsuits
Although the NFL refused to acknowledge the association between football and CTE for years, it finally did so in 2016. Prior to the public acknowledgment, thousands of former NFL players filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL. Now, retired players may receive up to $5 million from the NFL if they experience serious medical issues as a result of repetitive head trauma.
It is important to note that although a single concussion has not been correlated with the incidence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, concussions and brain injuries can cause a vast array of similar symptoms that have catastrophic consequences for victims. In fact, mild to severe traumatic brain injuries may result in difficulties with attention, concentration, memory, impulse control, and executive functions. They can also lead to problems with speech and language, comprehension, sensation, and perception, as well as seizures, chronic pain, mood and sleep disorders, and many others.
When you experience a brain injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is critical to understand that you have rights and legal options. As a victim of a brain or head injury, whether it involves a medical professional, property owner, product manufacturer, organization, or another party, you may have grounds to pursue compensation. At Fronzuto Law Group, our practice is dedicated entirely to assisting clients with personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability claims. To discuss your specific situation and learn more about how our New Jersey brain injury attorneys may be able to help you, contact our offices today at 973.435.4551.
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