A study has examined the donated brains of NFL players and other football players. Among the 202 brains of football players that scientist examined, 87 percent showed signs of brain damage. Meanwhile, among the 111 belonging to National Football League players, 99 percent showed brain damage.
These statistics are staggering and worrisome, but the authors of the study have stated that the results might not be indicative of the true risks involved. The study was published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
What were the brain injury symptoms revealed in the study?​

The study revealed brain damage referred to as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also called CTE, in many of the brains that doctors examined. This kind of damage is commonly associated with blunt impact events that happen repeatedly. Head tackles, which happen regularly in football games, can be a source of these injuries.

Doctors have shown that CTE can cause dementia, memory loss and depression. Recently, the prevalence of CTE in American football players has led to doctors, players and teams becoming concerned.

In fact, numerous football players have applied for workers’ compensation benefits relating to their CTE disease symptoms. However, CTE can be difficult to accurately diagnose until after the player has died and his or her brain can be examined.

What were the average characteristics of the brains examined?​

On average, the brains examined in the study belonged to players who had approximately 15 years of playing experience. Their average age of death was 66. According to the study, the more professionally a player participated in football, the higher likelihood and more severe the brain injuries were. For example, 21 percent of high school football players showed brain damage, 91 percent of college football players showed brain damage, and 99 percent of NFL players showed brain damage.

Furthermore, among the study participants who exhibited severe signs of CTE, 85 percent of them had symptoms of dementia, 90 percent showed behavioral issues and 95 percent showed cognitive problems before they died.

Brain injury from professional sports is a workplace illness.​

Professional sports contenders are workers just like anyone else. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with asbestos and develop asbestosis, if you’re sitting at a desk all day and develop back problems, or if you’re playing football for the NFL and develop a football-related brain injury. If performing your job duties results in a debilitating health condition, the California workers’ compensation system is here to help.

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