BU research finds link between playing football and CTE

BOSTON (WHDH) - Researchers at Boston University say they’ve discovered a strong link between playing football and the risk of CTE.

According to a new study, for every year of repeated head collisions that comes with playing football, the risk of developing CTE goes up by 30 percent.

The new findings come from an analysis of 266 deceased amateur and professional football players. The author says this could affect whether parents will allow their children to play football.

“As researchers, our role is less to tell family members whether they should or should not play, but rather to give them as much information as they can so that they can make informed decisions,” said Dr. Jesse Mez, an assistant professor of neurology at Boston University. “I think this is the first time they’ll be able to have hard quantitative data to answer that question.”

Mez said that people who have played less than four and a half years of football are 1/10 as likely to develop the disease.

Those who have played more than 14 years are 10 times as likely to develop it.

In CTE a protein forms clumps that slowly spread throughout the brain and kill cells.

“We typically see problems with memory, problem-solving, depression,” Mez said.

Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed after death. Researchers say these findings move them closer to diagnosing CTE in life, which is critical for testing potential therapies and guiding clinical care.

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