Hits to head may cause CTE even without concussions

20 January, 2018, 04:04 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Alarming new BU study shows impacts, not just concussions, lead to brain disease

"Now, CTE has taken my life away".

Buoniconti helped the Miami Dolphins to three straight Super Bowl appearances, including two wins and an undefeated season in 1972, the only such season in all of National Football League history. Brains from four control-matched athletes without recent head injury did not show such pathology.

New York Giants legend Carson echoed Buoniconti's sentiments.

For years, we've seen football players plagued by a neurodegenerative disease called chronic traumatic encepholapathy, or CTE.

Villapiano is best known for his big plays for the Oakland Raiders.

"It is the hits, not the concussions, that cause CTE".

Such an experiment is impossible to replicate in humans, but some researchers believe that repetitive head trauma in a sport like football may be contributing to CTE. Dr. Goldstein said that this study showed that the concussion is not a "long term neurological disease".

"We were surprised that the brain pathology was unrelated to signs of concussion, including altered arousal and impaired balance, among others".

The research was presented in New York City in conjunction with a new campaign from the Concussion Legacy Foundation to discourage the participation of kids under 14 in tackle football. "We now have solid scientific evidence to say that is so".

"The real exposure to larger players, higher velocity hits and hundreds of hits starts in high school", he said.

"The main message of this work is that concussion doesn't cause the CTE, but rather, the hit itself independent of concussion causes CTE", Goldstein said. Concussion is "not only not correlated, we can decouple it", said Goldstein.

The subjects of the study were all deceased: An 18-year-old football, baseball and basketball player; an 18-year-old football, rugby, soccer and in-line hockey player; a 17-year-old football and lacrosse player; and a 17-year-old football player. "We don't know how to weight the information", he said. "In every practice and in every play". The NFL has also made grants and supported brain science. While it's not clear how common CTE is, Goldstein said the brains examined in the new study are a warning.

"We will never prevent CTE by focusing on concussions".

"To prevent the disease, you have to prevent head impact - it's hits to the head that cause CTE", corresponding author Dr.

Trying to spread that message has been frustrating for some advocates, who still think too many parents aren't informed despite the public attention paid to concussions and CTE (Brett Favre recently produced a documentary on making playing surfaces safer because he thought the topic was widely misunderstood). Goldstein hopes policy makers, professional players and parents heed the warning that CTE can develop early - and that focus on concussions doesn't reduce the risk.


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