Study of retired NFL players reveals widespread brain damage

Atlanta Falcons fans will likely know that studies have linked their favorite sport to a brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. One of the biggest challenges facing those who wanted to research this connection is that CTE can only be diagnosed post mortem, but a study of 40 retired NFL players has provided more evidence connecting football with brain damage.

The results of the study were presented to the American Academy of Neurology during the organization's annual meeting in March 2016. The players involved had all retired during the last five years after playing an average of seven NFL seasons. The researchers say that 40 percent of the retired players had abnormal brain structures and had difficulty with cognitive tests designed to measure learning and memory functions. More worrying still was the discovery of white matter damage in 43 percent of the players that was serious enough to be described as traumatic.

While the NFL has grudgingly begun to accept the growing body of scientific evidence linking football with brain injuries, most of the league's efforts in this area have focused on reducing concussions. However, the researchers behind the retired player study say that the damage is likely done by the cumulative effect of multiple smaller hits rather than infrequent larger blows.

Brain injuries are not of course limited to contact sports. They often occur as a result of motor vehicle collisions or sudden slips and falls. A person who has incurred such an injury due to the negligence of another party often faces lengthy and expensive hospital care and treatment, and such a victim may want legal assistance in pursuing compensation for those and other losses through a personal injury lawsuit filed against the at-fault party.

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