New data from the nation’s largest brain bank shows that 76 out of 79 deceased former NFL players suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly referred to as CTE. The condition, which is caused by repeated head traumas, leads to aggression, depression, suicidal ideations, and memory loss.
Dr. Ann McKee, director of the brain bank, says the finding is further proof of the clear link between football and brain damage.
“…Playing football, and the higher level you play football and the longer you play football, the higher your risk,” McKee told PBS.
In total, the group studied the brains of 128 former football players. 79 played in the NFL, while the rest played semi-professional, collegiate, or high school football. Of the NFL players examined, 96% displayed CTE. Of the total sample of football players, just under 80% had CTE – a number that is still well over the diagnoses rate of the general population.
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The news comes just one day after scientists announced that Jovan Belcher, the former NFL linebacker who killed himself and his girlfriend in 2012, had CTE.
Other deceased NFL players confirmed in the study to have CTE include Mike Webster, Junior Seau, Dave Duerson, and Chris Henry. Both Duerson and Seau shot themselves in the chest when they committed suicide in order to preserve their brains for research purposes.
The finding is a timely one given that over 4,500 former NFL players and their beneficiaries must decide by October 14th if they will opt in to a class action lawsuit settlement proposed by the NFL. The lawsuit alleged that the NFL deceived and misinformed players about the risk of brain injuries from playing football.