Study finds CTE in 110 out of 111 NFL brains

The football world was rocked last week when a study of 111 deceased NFL players’ brains revealed CTE in 110 of them.


That means that more than 99% of the NFL players studied suffered a neurodegenerative disease characterized by memory loss, depression, aggressiveness, anger, suicidal behavior, and dementia. People are rightfully scared.



The study covered more than just pro football players, though. CTE was diagnosed in 48 out of the 53 former college players evaluated and three out of the 14 high school players. Overall, 87.6% of the brains studied were diagnosed.


The news, while sobering, is somewhat tempered by the methods used in selecting brains for the study. They weren’t random samples; all the brains belonged to players who had been exposed to repetitive head trauma. And some if not most of the relatives who submitted the brains presumably did so because they noticed symptoms while the players were living. Both those factors would tend to skew the odds toward CTE.


It’s also important to remember that tremendous strides have been made in the last decade in concussion prevention, detection, and treatment. It’s possible that the same study conducted a few decades in the future on the brains of current NFL players would yield more promising results.


But even with all the progress we’ve made, most NFL players, by the very nature of their job, are exposed to repeated head trauma, and that makes CTE a very real and frightening possibility for their futures.


*Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.