By Ken Reed
In a new study published yesterday, researchers revealed that 99 percent of the brains of former NFL players that they’ve received via family donations have the progressive degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Only one of the 111 brains of former NFL players studied didn’t have CTE.
One researcher, Ann McKee, a neuropathologist, said:
“[CTE is] much more common than we currently realize. And more importantly, this is a problem in football that we need to address and we need to address it now in order to bring some hope and optimism to football players.”
It must be noted that the study wasn’t designed to determine a CTE rate for all NFL players, as the brains studied weren’t randomly selected. The brains were mostly donated by families concerned about their loved ones’ behavioral and mood symptoms (e.g., impulsivity, depression, anxiety, hopelessness and violent tendencies). So, the 99% rate is skewed toward those with “disabling or discomforting symptoms,” as well as suicides and accidental deaths.
Nevertheless, McKee says the study provides “overwhelming circumstantial evidence that CTE is linked to football.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.