Dec 2, 2015
Study: CTE Signs In Many Males Who Played Youth Contact Sports

Although chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been associated largely with professional athletes, a new report from the Mayo Clinic suggests that it is affecting a large number of non-professional athletes. In the study’s findings, almost one-third of males who had competed in contact sports while growing up showed signs of CTE.

An article from the Post Bulletin reports on the study, which was conducted by the Mayo Clinic Brain Bank in Florida. The study examined the clinical record of 1,721 Brain Bank cases, and sampled tissue from 264 brains. Of brains from males who had participated in contact sports, 32 percent showed signs of CTE. None of the samples from males who had not played contact sports showed signs of CTE, nor did any of the 66 samples from females.

These findings were surprising as CTE is caused by repetitive brain trauma and is a source of controversy in the NFL. This report’s findings have particular significance for athletes who participate in sports such as football, boxing, wrestling, rugby, basketball, and baseball, among other sports.

“The purpose of our study is not to discourage children and adults from participating in sports, because we believe the mental and physical health benefits are great,” Kevin Bieniek, lead author and predoctoral student in the Mayo Graduate School’s Neurobiology of Disease program said in a press release reported by the Post Bulletin. “It is vital that people use caution when it comes to protecting the head. Through CTE awareness, greater emphasis will be placed on making contact sports safer, with better protective equipment and fewer head-to-head contacts.”

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