Of the 202 brains donated to the VA-BU-CLF (Concussion Legacy Foundation) Brain Bank:
- The most dramatic finding is the detection of CTE in 110 of 111 donated former NFL players’ brains (defined as having played one play in a regular NFL season game).
- In addition, the brains of other football players were studied. CTE was detected in seven of eight Canadian Football League former players (88 percent), nine of 14 semi-professional players (64 percent), 48 of 53 college players (91 percent), and three of 14 high school players (21 percent).
- The severity increased with length of play, with the majority of former college, semi-professional and professional players having severe pathology. The deceased high school players diagnosed with CTE had mild pathology findings. Age at death ranged from 23 to 89.
- Player position mattered. Linemen, running backs, defensive backs, and linebackers, who take most of the punishment in football, were the bulk of the donated brains with CTE.
Separately, and with no knowledge of the pathology, backgrounds on each donor were compiled to gather medical history and symptoms. What was striking were the personality changes evident with even mild CTE. Dr. Mez: “We found cognitive, mood and behavioral symptoms were very common, even among players with mild CTE tau pathology. This suggests that tau pathology is only the tip of the iceberg and that other pathologies, such as neuroinflammation and axonal damage, contribute to the clinical symptoms.”
Preliminary to the current study was UNITE (more…)