The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Monday, December 31, 2018

New Study Suggests Over 25 Percent of NFL Players Have CTE

What are the symptoms of CTE in football players?

Since the discovery of the serious condition Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), researchers have much debated its true incidence.  CTE has become the center of several major lawsuits filed by players and their families against the NFL. It was even explored on the big screen in the mega-movie “Concussion.”  Several recent studies have been published that purport to discover just how common CTE among football players really is. Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers examine some newly published studies and what we have learned about CTE in recent years below.

CTE May Impact Half of All NFL Players

A year ago, a study was released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which purported to find evidence of the degenerative brain condition CTE in 99 percent of NFL players.  The study examined the brains of 111 former NFL players, which were donated because families of the players suspected CTE while their loved one was alive. Researchers uncovered evidence of CTE in 110 out of 111 of the brains examined.

However, this study received some criticism due to its selection bias.  The study solely selected deceased NFL players who showed symptoms of CTE, such as dementia, depression, mood swings, and the like. Given concerns over the accuracy of the study, researchers developed a new study.  Two physicians recently released the results of their study on CTE, and the findings are still alarming.

This new study attempted to correct the selection bias of the original study by including all deceased NFL players who died between 2008 and 2016.  Using the figure of over 1,142 deceased players, researchers then concluded that if it could be presumed that the 110 CTE afflicted brains were the only cases of CTE among the deceased players, then the incidence of CTE would be about 10 percent.  This figure seems falsely low, however, as of the over 1,000 players whose brains were not donated for the research study, it is likely some also displayed signs of the condition.

Adjusting for the rates of donation, the study concluded that somewhere around 25 to 50 percent of all NFL players likely suffer from CTE.  Researchers agree that more study is needed into the field of CTE. For now, former football players, whether pro or not, should be aware of the symptoms of CTE. Common symptoms of CTE include memory loss, depression, mood changes, anxiety, impulsivity, suicidal thoughts, and the like. Contact a personal injury lawyer should you experience any of these symptoms and suspect head trauma playing football may have been the cause.

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