Football And Brain Damage

Football And Brain Damage - How Closely Are They Linked

Football And Brain Damage

Those fantastic headers that can amp up the excitement of any football game may be more dangerous than we thought. Some recent studies have confirmed a correlation between contact sports and brain damage and deterioration; as a result of the several “sub-concussions” or “micro-concussions” that occur due to the multiple hits, players take to the head during the game. Although brain damage has more commonly been associated with American Football, researchers claim that footballers too might be just as much at risk as NFL players.



The potential for risk between the two gained prominence in 2014, when Jeff Astle, who died in 2002, was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). He was famous for his knack to head a goal.

Upon the recent examination of the brain of Rod Taylor, who passed away this April, it was found that there is, unfortunately, a potential link between football and brain and neurological pathology. Taylor, who donated his brain towards research, was found to have been suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, as well as dementia with Lewy bodies.


CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy)

CTE is a degenerative disease caused by repeated head trauma, associated with several behavioral and mood problems, such as aggression, disorientation, impulsivity, and various other symptoms like memory loss, speech impediments, motor impairment, ADHD, etc. It can only be detected post-mortem. Lewy bodies, another disease that presents with similar symptoms, with the addition of hallucinations, was also recently linked to contact sports.

One study published last year that involved 14 retired football players with dementia also found a positive correlation. All the individuals involved developed progressive cognitive impairment, at around 60 years old. Out of the six post-mortem cases, four were found to have CTE, due to all the concussions and micro-concussions caused by repetitive head trauma.


The Future Of Football

All this troubling information has led to the establishment of the Justice for Jeff Campaign and the Jeff Astle Foundation, who advocate for more extensive research into probable implications of heading footballs and encourage brain donation so that this can be done. They claim that more than 250 former football players had CTE and various other neurodegenerative diseases. They raise awareness about such issues, and also hope to convince officials to recognize certain forms of dementia found in football players as a separate pathology, which will hopefully lead to the employment of protective measures for future players.


Read other sports related articles in Soccertipsters blog.

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