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No one should be surprised that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has now been diagnosed (after death) in a female professional athlete - Heather Anderson. Years of repeated head trauma, whether from concussions or subconcussive hits, can eventually cause CTE. Head trauma, whether in males or females, occurs from body hits in football, rugby, heading the ball in soccer, and checking in ice hockey.

Heather Anderson was an Australian rules football player who started playing when she was 5, also played rugby, and eventually competed in the top women's Australian rules football league, retired at 23 after a shoulder injury, and committed suicide at 28. Both Australian rules football and rugby are contact sports. After death, her brain was examined and found to have the lesions characteristic of CTE.

CTE symptoms include memory loss, impaired judgement, confusion, aggression, depression, thinking about suicide, and eventually dementia. There is progressive degeneration of brain tissue in CTE, as well as build-up of the abnormal protein tau in the brain.

From NY Times: C.T.E. Found for First Time in Female Pro Athlete

For the first time, the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or C.T.E., has been diagnosed in a female professional athlete, researchers reported. ...continue reading "CTE Found In Female Professional Athlete"

Very depressing news about football. A study looking at those who played football long-term (as a career in adulthood) found that for every year of playing tackle football (lots of pounding and repeated head collisions), a person's risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) increases by 30%. The researchers from the Boston Univ. School of Medicine arrived at this conclusion after looking at 266 deceased former amateur and professional football players.

What was different about this study was that they compared football players who did not develop CTE with those who did - so the researchers thought it was representative of career football players.

The study results make total sense, but are horrifying because of all the children in the US growing up and playing tackle football from a young age. Other studies find brain changes from just playing some semesters in high school or college or before the age of 12.

From Futurity: CTE RISK GOES UP 30% FOR EACH YEAR OF PLAYING FOOTBALL  ...continue reading "Football May Not Be A Good Career Choice"