Football has been in the midst of a major controversy for years after discovering the damaging effects that football players risk out on the field. In 2015, Will Smith starred in a movie, “Concussion,” which outlines the theory of professional football players suffering “brain degeneration,” commonly known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). The progressive disease has been a major factor in the football controversy.
Common symptoms of CTE (memory loss, confusion, depression, anxiety, aggression, suicidal behavior, etc.) can be related to the football player when living. However, CNN mentions a CTE correlation can only officially be diagnosed in an autopsy after the individual is deceased.
A recent study published on Tuesday, July 25th of 2017, showed very disturbing results in deceased National Football League players. CTE was found in 99% of football players’ brains from the NFL. Additionally, CTE was discovered in 87% of American football players “across all levels of play,” including other professional leagues, college football, and even former high school players.
The study reveals, “In a convenience sample of deceased players of American football, a high proportion showed pathological evidence of CTE, suggesting that CTE may be related to prior participation in football.” However, the study may contain "potential bias" based on family members recognizing symptoms prior to their death, leading them to donate their brain for studies.
Dr. Ann McKee, director of Boston University's CTE Center and coauthor of this study said, "There's no question that there's a problem in football. That people who play football are at risk for this disease. And we urgently need to find answers for not just football players, but veterans and other individuals exposed to head trauma."
In addition to this study, many former football players have also spoken out about the serious issues football players risk, first-hand experiencing the effects themselves. Warren Sapp, former defensive tackle, recently released a video announcement, sharing his personal story on why he is donating his brain for CTE testing. Watch the video here.
This study could play a part in eventually calling for major changes in the sports industry, especially in the NFL, and for others who face serious head trauma. There is still many missing factors to be considered, but ensuring the safety of NFL players and other individuals is essential.
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