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CTE what is it and what needs to be done?

CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is a brain disorder that is caused by repeated head injuries.

CTE has been found in many athletes that have played high contact sports such as football, hockey, and others. CTE is known to have serious symptoms that could result in death, but the scariest part about this is the only way to diagnose it is after death.

CTE was first diagnosed in 1928 when a doctor by the name of Harrison Martland found findings of anxiety, depression, aggression, and mood swings in a group of boxers and called it drunk boxers syndrome. Over the next several years, other doctors had very similar findings in many other boxers and people that have been in accidents and experienced major head trauma.

Even with all the findings in the past, it took until 2005 for the first official evidence of CTE to be found in NFL (National Football League) players.

This was really the first time people were finding out about the consequences and of these head injuries. It was also the first time people started questioning leagues like the NFL and NHL for their safety.

CTE gets continuously worse with each head injury.

The University of Boston did a research experiment to study the brains of 376 former deceased NFL players. They found out of the 376 athletes, 345 of them (91.7%) came back showing they had CTE.

This leads to the question: Has the NFL done enough to try and limit CTE as much as possible?

The NFL has been adding rules to the league to help prevent major head-head contact along with reconstructing and making helmets safer to absorb contact.

According to NFL Player Operations, “each year helmets undergo laboratory testing by biochemical engineers appointed by the NFL to evaluate which helmets best reduce head impact severity.”

The NFL has also heavily advised refs to throw flags on any head-head contact where a defender leads with his head. Players can be fined, suspended, and kicked out of the game for committing those types of plays.

But even with the rule changes, the numbers of players that are saying they experience symptoms of CTE after retiring is concerning. Even with all the new helmets and all the new rules, why is this still happening?

A majority of NFL players have played tackle football their entire lives, starting as young as second grade. This could be a major factor in getting CTE in the future.

Some former NFL legends have pushed for this same agenda. Former Hall of Fame running back, Jim Brown, former cornerback, Hanford Dixon, and Legendary quarterback, Tom Brady, have put together a group called the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF). The foundation encourages parents and players to play flag football instead of tackle.

Former NFL linebacker, John Grimsley’s brain showing CTE.

CLF advocate, Nick Buoniconti, says, “I made a mistake playing tackle football at 9 years old,” Nick suffers from symptoms of CTE and dementia.

Harry Carson, another Hall of Famer and an advocate for the CLF said, “I did not play tackle football until high school, and I will not allow my grandson to play until 14, as I believe it is not an appropriate sport for young children.”

CTE is a serious condition and with the rise in technology and advocating, there is hope the CTE will be eliminated completely.

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About the Contributor
Jack Wadlington is a junior at Broomfield High School, and is partaking in his first year of the Eagle Way News. Jack plays basketball for Broomfield High School and also competes in Track. Jack hopes to go to college on an athletic scholarship for basketball and study broadcasting and Journalism as well. Jack lives in Westminster with his parents, three siblings, and two french Bulldogs. Jack hopes to write and be involved in the sports area of the newspaper and overall enjoy the class.

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    Mary Beth Nickolaou-PearmanOct 25, 2023 at 1:01 pm

    I truly appreciated this synopsis of a very serious subject. Thank you for your research, Jack.

    Aunt Moo