Progress In Our Understanding Of Concussions And CTE

Source: | Re-Post Duerson Fund 12/12/2017 – 

Football has become almost synonymous with Thanksgiving. At some point this holiday weekend, we will hear discussions of a key player suffering a concussion and the dangers of head trauma in football.

Don’t dismiss this as another column harping on the risks of football. In the spirit of the holiday, I want to express thanks to brain researchers around the country. This month alone has brought numerous scientific discoveries about concussions and CTE. The more we learn, the more informed our decisions as parents, coaches and athletes can be.

The first studies offer hope to current football players, athletes in other sports and members of the military regarding CTE. This is the degenerative brain condition believed to be caused by repetitive blows to the head over time. CTE presents with symptoms like memory loss, anger and mood swings. Athletes currently can only be diagnosed with CTE by autopsy after death.

Drs. Bennet Omalu and Julian Bailes and their team discovered CTE in a living player. Fred McNeill, a former Minnesota Vikings linebacker, was one of 14 living retired NFL players determined to have CTE through a special brain scan. McNeill’s CTE was recently confirmed by autopsy after he died.

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