According to a new study by the Mayo Clinic published in December’s issue of Acta Neuropathologica, amateur contact sports such as football, boxing, rugby, wrestling and basketball are linked to an increased risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The study found that males who played amateur contact sports in their youth or young adult years were more prone to developing CTE.
The Mayo Clinic Brain Bank studied more than 1,700 cases, and of the 66 males in the pool that played contact sports during their youth and young adult years, 32% were found to have brain tissue showing CTE pathology.
“The purpose of our study is not to discourage children and adults from participating in sports because we believe the mental and physical health benefits are great,” the study’s lead author Kevin Bieniek added. “It is vital that people use caution when it comes to protecting the head. Through CTE awareness, greater emphasis will be placed on making contact sports safer, with better protective equipment and fewer head-to-head contacts.”
The Mayo Clinic’s study is the first to use neuropathological criteria to look into the presence of CTE in nonprofessional athletes.
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