While medical researchers admit the methodology they use is not exact and they have no reason to predict future rates, the most recent study linking chronic traumatic encephalopathy and football shows a very strong correlation.
Researchers from Boston University have been studying the brains of 111 former players in the NFL that were donated by their families. They said that 110 of the 111 brains had signs of CTE.
Even though that is not considered a random sample that reflects the complete sport, as the donations are usually from families of former players who struggled with issues or committed suicide, the high percentage alarms those who are studying this issue.
One of the neuropathologist in the study said that the study did not represent the prevalence from the general population, but since the study was able to gather such a high number of CTE cases over a short time says the disease is not that uncommon.
In fact, the researcher added that she believes the disease is far more common than most realize and even more important, it is a problem that is in football that needs to be addressed and addressed now to bring hope as well as optimism to those playing football today.
In all, the study at BU included 202 brains that families of the men donated. All the men had at some point played football. CTE was found in 177 of the 202 or 87%. The 99% of former players in the NFL was the largest percentage.
The study showed as well CTE in 3 of 14 men who played high school football or 21.4%, 48 of 53 who had played college football or 90.5%, 9 out of 14 who played semiprofessional football or 64.3% and 7 out of 8 who played in the Canadian Football League or 87.5%.
Researchers said their study provided circumstantial evidence that is overwhelming that CTE and playing football are linked.
The NFL pledged to devote over $100 million and other resources toward this effort and spoke during league meetings during the spring about more research into the safety of helmets.
A spokesperson for the NFL said the league appreciated the work the researchers were doing for the value it adds to their ongoing quest to find more understanding of the disease.
The studies’ authors admitted that some limitations were involved pointing out the game has seen changes over the last few years from those in equipment to rules. However, the size of the numbers stand out and are worthy of more study.