From PBS's article entitled 76 of 79 Deceased NFL Players Found to Have Brain Disease
As the NFL nears an end to its long-running legal battle over concussions, new data from the nation’s largest brain bank focused on traumatic brain injury has found evidence of a degenerative brain disease in 76 of the 79 former players it’s examined.
The findings represent a more than twofold increase in the number of cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, that have been reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ brain repository in Bedford, Mass.
Researchers there have now examined the brain tissue of 128 football players who, before their deaths, played the game professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school. Of that sample, 101 players, or just under 80 percent, tested positive for CTE.
To be sure, players represented in the data represent a skewed population. CTE can only be definitively identified posthumously, and many of the players who have donated their brains for research suspected that they may have had the disease while still alive. For example, former Chicago Bears star Dave Duerson committed suicide in 2011 by shooting himself in the chest, reportedly to preserve his brain for examination.
(read the article here)
While we can perhaps rationalize that the players are full adults (for the most part) and have the right to engage in risky behavior if they wish (smoking, eating Big Macs, BASE diving, driving to the airport, etc.), that leaves the 10's of thousands of kids playing football on the high school and college level.
Is it time to address football as a public health issue, if only for the kids?
Of course, nothing is going to happen, but wouldn't it be interesting to see the NFL recruiting 18 year old college guys who have no experience playing football!