It is one of the most enjoyable times of the year for many Los Angeles residents. In part, this is because America's most popular game, football, is in full swing at nearly every level of competition. While the game can be exciting to play and watch, it can also present serious dangers to those involved.
Football brings its fair share of broken bones and bruises. However, the most serious injury for players is often the brain damage that can come through blows to the head. Similar to the car accidents that can cause brain injury that were discussed in this blog last week, fast and prolonged strikes to the head in football can also cause brain trauma.
A recent study of former NFL players showed that 87 of 91 players studied tested positive for a brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The disease, which can only be diagnosed after death, is typically found in those with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Those with it may have their neural pathways disabled, which can have a range of impact on their memory, judgment or perception.
While CTE is not solely diagnosed for athletes, it is believed to be linked to concussions and repeated head strikes. These repeated head strikes are common in football, where players often collide with one another on a frequent basis in making tackles or executing plays. Although players are aware of the violent nature of the game, they may not be aware of the types of brain damage that can result when concussions or other injuries are suffered.
Source: CNN, "87 of 91 tested ex-NFL players had brain disease linked to head trauma," Jason Hanna, Sept. 20, 2015