Study finds CTE in brains of college athletes

Pennsylvania residents have likely heard about reports linking contact sports like rugby and football with the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It was originally believed that CTE was mainly confined to professional athletes who have suffered multiple head injuries and concussions over careers that sometimes last for a decade or more, but a recent study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic indicates that the problem may be far more widespread than experts had believed. The researchers published their findings in the December 2015 issue of the journal Acta Neuropathologica.

According to the Mayo Clinic research, men who played contact sports while in high school or college showed signs of CTE 32 percent of the time. The study was conducted by examining the brains of deceased former college athletes and non-athletes. The sports played included boxing, wrestling and baseball in addition to football and rugby. Researchers followed diagnostic procedures established by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The researchers say that they were surprised by their findings. The 198 brains examined included 66 that had been taken from women. The researchers found no indication of CTE in the brains of men or women who had not played any contact sports as a youth. However, the Mayo Clinic researchers were quick to point out that more work needs to be done and that playing organized sports can provide many benefits for young people.

While brain injuries are often associated with contact sports, they frequently are caused by traffic collisions or falls. A person who has been injured in an incident that was attributable to the negligence of another party may want to have the assistance of a personal injury lawyer in seeking assistance for medical and rehabilitation expenses and other losses that have been incurred.