By Ken Reed

A new study published in the scientific journal Brain strengthened the case that head trauma can lead to “long-term, degenerative brain disease.”

“The study, which included brain samples taken posthumously from 85 people who had histories of repeated mild traumatic brain injury, added to the mounting body of research revealing the possible consequences of routine hits to the head in sports like football and hockey.”

Of the 85 samples, 80 percent — nearly all of whom played sports — showed evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), an incurable brain disease whose symptoms include memory loss, depression, and dementia. Symptoms can also appear similar to those seen in Lou Gehrig’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Among the group with CTE, 50 were football players, including six high school football players and nine college football players. The study took four years to complete and included subjects between 17 and 98 years old.

The study provided more evidence that it’s not just concussions that parents, coaches and doctors need to worry about, but total head trauma, including repetitive smaller sub concussive hits. These hits don’t result in any immediate symptoms for the athletes and include routine hits such as those experienced by offensive and defensive linemen, who bang heads play after play.

The new study will undoubtedly increase the anxiety level at NFL and NHL headquarters, as well as at the headquarters of football and hockey organizations from the college level down to the youth level.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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