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- April 11, 2011
- Vol. 75
- No. 14
Brain Bank Secrets: Searching for Clues
A Former NFL Star Left a Dying Wish: That Scientists Study His Brain to See the Effects of Repeated Concussions During His Years on the Football Field
What is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)?
It's the progressive death of brain cells following blows to the head, leading to memory loss, depression and dementia. The only test for it: Examine the brain postmortem for a toxic protein, TAU, that indicates swaths of dead areas.
What have you discovered?
We've studied football players, hockey players, boxers-in all but one there is CTE. Several hadn't played professionally, in others a concussion hadn't been diagnosed. Damage still exists. [Duerson's results are not yet in.]
Is enough being done to protect players?
No. But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is taking a stand against direct hits and is to be commended for it.
Would you allow your child to play football?
My son played college football. My daughter played high school ice hockey. It was hard to watch. But they were lucky-they weren't hurt.
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