A majority of football players whose brains were donated for research suffered a degenerative brain disease during their lives, according to the largest sample of players ever studied. The finding provides more evidence that the repetitive injuries to the brain sustained while playing American football are associated with the disease, researchers say.
Of 202 deceased former football players, 177 were diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which can cause a host of mood and behavioral issues as well as thinking and reasoning problems. Among 111 men who had played in the National Football League, 110 — a whopping 99 percent — had developed the disease, researchers report July 25 in JAMA. Three of 14 high school players also showed signs of the brain disease, as well as 48 of 53 college players.