BOSTON (WHDH) - Researchers at Boston University confirmed the first case of CTE in a former Major League Soccer player, but said there are steps that can be taken to protect players.

“This is a preventable disease,” said Boston University CTE Center Director, Dr. Ann McKee. “It is a progressive and devastating disease to those people who get it. But it is also preventable.”

According to McKee, banning heading the ball and teams to monitor players brain function after each season to a baseline exam may be a good next step

CTE is thought to be caused by repeated head injuries.

“Everyone concentrates on concussions, but it is really the little hits. The asymptomatic hits. The sub concussive hits that are the real problem, and it’s been shown in soccer players that they develop microstructural changes in their white matter after a single season of play,” said McKee.

The player died of an accidental overdose in 2020 but his family said that in his late twenties he dealt with depression, anxiety, and aggression.

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