Boys in Washington and across the nation who participate in contact sports could be at an increased risk for developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, later in life. A new study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that almost one-third of men who had played contact sports as children showed signs of CTE. Meanwhile, none of the men in the study who had not played contact sports as children had CTE.
CTE is a degenerative brain disorder that can only be diagnosed posthumously, so the study relied on research that was conducted using donated brains. Researchers studied the brains of males who had played contact sports such as football, basketball, baseball, boxing, wrestling and rugby. The author of the study said that the frequency with which CTE was identified in former athletes was surprising.
The report, which was published in the December edition of Acta Neuropathological, analyzed 66 men who had played contact sports in their youth. CTE was identified in 32 percent of these men while signs of CTE were not found in any of the 198 brains from people who hadn’t played any contact sports in their youth. The leader of the research team said that CTE awareness could help to make contact sports safer.