Brain damage found in nearly 90 percent of brains donated by football players

What to say to your friend who never misses a game during American football season…


Hear about this? Research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that nearly all former American NFL players examined in a recent study showed signs of brain damage.


In recent years, football has gotten scrutiny for the long-term damage it can do to players’ bodies. The game has been linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a debilitating brain disease that is caused by repeated blows to the head. Symptoms of the disease include memory loss, depression, and confusion. It can only be diagnosed after a player dies, when doctors can get a look at the brain.


In this recent study, a panel of neuropathologists diagnosed CTE  in 177 former players, which accounted for nearly 90 percent of brains studied. Of these, 110 of 111 brains were from former NFL players; 48 of 53 college players; nine of 14 semi-professional players; seven of eight Canadian Football League players; and three of 14 high school players. The disease was not found in brains from two younger players.


The research isn’t representative of all players, since most of the brains examined were donated by families who suspected CTE. But researchers say it’s clear this is a problem for the football world.


The NFL – which until recently has been on the fence about the link between football and long-term brain damage – said it’s working on improving players’ health, but that there are still a lot of “unanswered questions” about what causes CTE. It has also agreed a $1 billion settlement to compensate former players who had accused the league of hiding the risks.


Find out more on this report on ESPN

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