A New Study On CTE Could Threaten Football’s Existence Altogether

A New Study On CTE Could Threaten Football's Existence Altogether

Getty Image / Michael Reaves

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, known as CTE, is one of the worst brain conditions one can have. The condition, caused by repeated traumatic blows to the head, can lead to any number of terrible, debilitating, side effects like memory loss, erratic behavior, and suicidal thoughts and ideations.

And, football is a surefire way to increase your chances of CTE. This is a fact that is now widely accepted, but it wasn’t always that way.

As recently as the 2000s, the NFL was arguing that, somehow, players’ brains “had evolved to a state where they are less susceptible to injury.” Seriously, read that again. That’s what they tried to tell us less than 20 years ago.

Of course, we now know there is a huge connection between football and CTE. The NFL has taken steps to try to prevent it among its players. They’ve changed the rules to try to eliminate hits to the head, cut down on hitting in practice, among other things.

But, it’s still a violent game. And, more and more evidence is coming out about just how bad the CTE crisis in football is. A new study by Boston University, one of the leaders in research on CTE, is out, and the news is not good for the NFL.

The article says, in part:

BOSTON – Researchers at Boston University on Monday reported finding CTE in 345 of the 376 former NFL players they have studied so far.

The school’s CTE center said the 91.7% occurrence rate of CTE in ex-NFL players is a sharp contrast with the “extremely low population rate” of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the general public. A 2018 study of brains donated to the Framingham Heart Study detected CTE in only 1 of 164 samples – the sole case belonged to a former college football player.

That, my friends, is bad news for the long-term viability of football.

I love football. I think it teaches lifelong lessons that no other sport or activity can. But, the bottom line is, if technology does not find a way to prevent traumatic brain injuries while playing football, the sport will die. When? Who knows. But, it’s inevitable.

That being said, I will be glued to my TV this weekend for the Super Bowl.

Garrett Carr
Garrett Carr is a recent graduate of Penn State University. He lives and dies Penn State football, wrestling, and the New York Mets.