Nearly 80% of football players tested positive for debilitating brain disease; new study released

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WASHINGTON – Football is one of America’s most popular sports.

Many children begin taking the field at a young age to learn the rules of the game and perfect their skills before high school and college.

However, new information from the nation’s largest brain bank may have you thinking twice about the sport.

According to PBS, a total of 87 out of 91 former NFL players tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

In fact, PBS claims that the disease was discovered in 96 percent of NFL players and 79 percent of all football players.

“In total, the lab has found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school,” the article states.

The study claims that 40 percent of those with the disease were offensive or defensive lineman, making many researchers say that the minor head trauma that occurs throughout the game may be more damaging than some of the more violent collisions you see on television.

According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, CTE is the result of traumatic impacts to the head. 

However, it can have debilitating effects on the patient.

The institute says patients with CTE can suffer from memory loss, difficulty controlling impulsive or erratic behavior, impaired judgment, aggression, depression, issues with balance and a gradual onset of dementia.

While the study’s findings are alarming, experts say it is not a perfect science.

Brain scans are used to identify signs of CTE, but it cannot be positively identified until after death. Also, many of the players involved in the study believed they already had the disease and wanted their brains tested after they died, which could skew the study.

Still, researchers say the numbers are “remarkably consistent” with past research.

In April, the National Football League agreed to pay millions of dollars to players who suffered severe head trauma playing the game.

More than 5,000 ex-NFL players were party to the lawsuit, which accused the NFL of hiding the dangers of concussions, but 200 other former players opted out of the settlement.

While some changes have been made in an attempt to protect players, concussions are still a regular occurrence.