CHICAGO — Researchers are tackling fresh questions about a degenerative brain disease now that it has been detected in the brains of nearly 200 football players after death. The suspected cause is repeated head blows, an almost unavoidable part of contact sports. As a new NFL season gets underway, here’s a look at what’s known — and what still needs to be learned — about the condition: What’s new? The largest report to date on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) included 202 brains from football players at the youth, college and professional level, all donated post-mortem to a Boston brain bank. CTE was detected in all but one of the 111 NFL players studied, 90 percent of the college players and 20 percent of the high school players. It was absent in two younger players’ brains. A previous report had described the disease in an 18-year-old football player, but finding additional cases at the high school level raises new questions about the game’s safety for young players. How common is CTE? The high occurrence of CTE in donated brains surprised researchers at Boston University and the VA Boston Healthcare System, whose brain bank is billed as the world’s largest focusing on… Read full this story
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