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Degenerative brain disease found to be common in football players

There is nothing more exciting to football fans in Montana than watching the action of a great game. Unfortunately, recent medical research suggests that despite the latest in helmet technologies, football may be more dangerous than people realize.

According to PBS, 96 percent of former, now deceased players for the NFL were determined to have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a serious disease caused by repeated brain injuries. Researchers from Boston University and the Department of Veterans Affairs also claimed that 79 percent of all former football players tested, including those who played in college and high school, developed the condition.

What exactly is chronic traumatic encephalopathy? WebMD describes CTE as a degenerative brain disease that is caused by repeated blows to the head. These blows may be minor, as opposed to rarer, more serious concussions. Several football positions regularly receive head blows from contact with each other during the course of a game. CTE may cause such symptoms as memory loss, depression, aggression, loss of balance and impaired decision-making abilities. In time, the disease often causes brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or Parkinson’s disease.

Mistaken diagnoses for CTE are said to occur. This is due to the disease’s similarity to other cognitive impairments, as well as the fact that it is only diagnosed for certain after death, during an analysis of brain tissue. Some tests are being developed that may result in a more accurate diagnosis while the patient is still alive. Brain injury victims who are misdiagnosed may miss out on important treatment, and may be eligible for legal recourse.

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