New CTE study shows alarming numbers for deceased football players

Malcolm Jenkins

CTE found in 99% of studied brains from deceased NFL players

"We just don't really know, and we don't have enough information at this time", said Holmen High School Head Football Coach Travis Kowalski.

"I would say that is something we are paying really close attention to as players", said Davis, one of the hardest hitters in the league and a key to Carolina's defense. In fact, it is only in the last five years or so that I have developed an interest in the game - largely as a result of marrying into a family of rabid Buffalo Bills supporters. CTE causes symptoms including: memory loss, vertigo, depression and dementia. Researchers noted that the most common cause of death for study participants with mild CTE was suicide (27 percent).

The NFL, which past year pledged $100 million for neuromedical research, said the study would help the league and players to understand the condition.

CHICAGO - Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in almost all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

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Berger, from Newaygo and former standout at Michigan Tech, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he'd like to see a study involving former players who did not experience CTE-related symptoms. For collegiate players, 91 percent were found to have CTE.

The NFL has previously denied a relationship between tackle football and long-term brain disease, until Jeff Miller, the league's senior vice president of health and safety policy, answered "yes" when asked if there is a link "between football and degenerative brain disorders like CTE" at a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill in March 2016.

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis called the latest medical report on brain injuries involving former football players "alarming", and said it's something NFL players are talking about.

However, it is unknown if CTE and Alzheimer's are related. It can only be diagnosed after death. Other studies have linked CTE to Parkinson's and Lou Gherig's Disease.

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Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), however, have adapted a technique used to assessing neurological changes associated with Alzheimer's disease to look for CTE in living patients.

And it's not just the National Football League dealing with this concussion problem.

The most acute evidence of the degenerative condition, which now can only be diagnosed post-mortem, was found among those who played at the highest levels, with 86 percent of professional players having severe forms of CTE. Athletes who had experienced more concussions had higher levels of tau accumulation.

Because the brains studied were for the most part donated by concerned families, they do not necessarily represent all people who have played the rough contact sport. Although professional leagues like the NFL have begun to put into place new rules created to reduce the frequency of concussions among players, the risk to athletes at any level (professional, collegiate, high school, and even pee wee) remains great.

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