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Is Football Worth Gambling With High School And College Players' Brains?


(Forbes)
Most media attention on a new study about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in deceased football players focused on the NFL players. Certainly, the finding that 99% of NFL players in the study had CTE should get people’s attention. But so should the findings about the other players in the study—including high school and college players.
CTE is a progressive, degenerative disease in which repetitive brain trauma leads to a build-up in the brain of a protein called tau and the death of brain cells. As featured in the film ConcussionBennet Omalu, M.D., a forensic neuropathologist and chief medical examiner for San Joaquin County in California, first identified CTE in American football players when it had previously only been seen in boxers.
It’s now well established that a career in the NFL puts players at high risk for developing CTE, which comes with severe mood and behavioral symptoms, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or attempts, explosive anger and similar problems. The new study, published in JAMA, adds to that evidence. What’s less clear is how much risk of CTE might exist for high school or college football players.
Of the 202 deceased players whose brains were examined in the study, two played football before high school, 14 played only in high school and 53 played through college. Neither of the pre-high school players had evidence of CTE, but 21% of the high school players did, and 91% of the college players did.
For more info, go to Forbes.



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