The Demosphere Blog is no stranger to the topic of concussions – especially as they relate to the world of youth sports and safety concerns.
Just this past May, we spoke of head injuries in youth football and touched on a disease known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy has since sparked headlines again as a major motion picture surrounding the topic prepares to hit theaters Christmas Day.
What Is CTE?
CTE is a progressive degenerative brain disease most commonly found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma (concussions).
It is known to cause memory loss, impaired judgment, impulse control issues, aggression, depression, and progressive dementia.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University, new research has now identified CTE in the brain tissue of 131 out of 165 individuals who played football (either professionally, semi-professionally, or in college/high school) before their death.
From this experiment, 40 percent of CTE-positive brains belonged to offensive and defensive linemen who experience repetitive contact.
At an alarming majority, 87 out of 91 former NFL players tested positive for CTE.
CTE And Youth Sports
The NFL isn’t the only group affected by this degenerative disease. A new Mayo Clinic report suggests that even men who played amateur contact sports throughout their youth may be at risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The research analyzed a total of 66 brains from men who had participated in contact sports – football, rugby, wrestling, boxing and basketball – while in school. They were compared to a group of 198 brains, including 66 female brains, from individuals who had never participated in contact sports.
One third of the men who played amateur contact sports tested positive for CTE. There were no detection of the disease in any of the brains who never played sports.
CTE In The Media
The controversy surrounding the NFL and its attempt to deny the connection between football and CTE research was showcased on a national platform weeks ago as the trailer for the upcoming Hollywood film, Concussion, went viral.
The film, starring Will Smith, tells the story of forensic pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu. After discovering CTE in the brain of former Pittsburgh Steeler, Mike Websiter, Omalu faced the difficult challenge of fighting against the National Football League as they tried to suppress his research.
The film intends to draw attention to the disease and it’s relationship to repetitive brain trauma.
What will this mean for the future of football?
How do you think football and youth football will be affected after CTE is highlighted on the big screen? Let us know in the comments section below.
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