The disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE is now something we all need to be aware of, especially if you are involved in, coach or paticipate in contact sports. Last week, the authors of a new study – a team from the National Institute for Occupational Saftey and Health, which is a part of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention – cited recent research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a buildup in protiens seen in the autopsied brains of former atheletes who played a wide range of contact sports. That research, the autors wrote, “now suggests that CTE may have been the true primary or secondary factor in these deaths.” Dr. Ann McKee further commented that ” this new research is groundbreaking. It opens new avenues for research and validates our neuropathologcal findings.” Dr. McKee autopsies of 15 former NFL athletes have turned up substantial evidence that repeated brain trauma has DETERMINAL effects.
What does all this mean to us as a community? That CTE, a progressive degenerative disease, diagnosed currently in post-mortem in individuals with a history of multiple concussions, is nothing to take lightly. This study that was published Wednesday will hopefully generate funds so that we can obtain an earlier diagnosis, in hopes to treat and cure. Living in fear and not participating in sports is not the answer. But continuing to become educated on the warning signs, communicating to your coach and supporting reasearch, is.
The study also reveiled that of the 3,439 retired players with five or more seasons in the NFL found these athletes FOUR times as likely as other men their age to DIE of Alzheimer’s disease OR Amylotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Stay informed and communicate to your doctors, children and coaches, symptons and warning signs. Respect and treat these seriously. No game is as important as the “game of life.”