What Are the Effects of CTE in Football Players?

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a progressive degenerative brain disease associated with repetitive head trauma. Currently, CTE can only be confirmed post-mortem.

In a new study from JAMA, researchers examined the brains of 202 deceased former football players — more than half of them from the NFL — and talked to their family members to identify pathological and clinical features of CTE.

CTE has affected football players of all ages, including a player student athlete that committed suicide because he had known about the condition:

Whilst perusing Instagram in the days following Madison’s incident, I came across a powerful statement written by another female athlete whom I had known in college:

After experiencing two suicides in the athletic community at Penn within four years, my stance on the matter remains clear: universities need to do a better job at providing supports for student athletes and educating them on mental health. We have strength coaches, nutritionists, tutors, etc. But we continue to neglect mental health as a society, and regard it as a ‘touchy’ subject. Athletes, coaches, and administrators should feel safe to discuss these pressing matters that often affect too many of us student athletes. Keeping Penn athletics, friends and family in my thoughts.

The other suicide to which she is referring is that of Owen Thomas who, within weeks of being made captain of UPenn’s football team, hung himself in his campus house. After completing his autopsy, scientists found that Owen had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, “a disease linked to depression and impulse control primarily among N.F.L. players, two of whom also committed suicide in the last 10 years.”

With the football season about to start: what are your thoughts on the CTE crisis? Are there solutions in sight? Comment below!

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