Degenerative brain disease prevalent in sample of deceased NFL players


The National Football League (NFL) has been under intense scrutiny in recent years as neuroimaging and medical research has shed more light on the damage football can do to the human brain. A new analysis of deceased players’ brain tissue will only heighten these concerns.

The analysis, conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University and reported by PBS’ Frontline, found 87 out of 91 former NFL players who had donated their brain tissue upon death tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

CTE has become the focus of much of the current research into football head injuries. Rather than being caused by a single, acute injury, CTE is believed to be caused by minor, repetitive trauma to the head. This can manifest symptoms such as depression, memory loss and dementia.

While the proportion of players with CTE in the sample was extremely high, the researchers noted many of the participants who made their tissue available for study suspected they had the disease while still alive, creating a biased sample.

For more analysis of the findings, click the link below: