There is no denying that repeated trauma to the head is detrimental to both short-term and long-term health. Once considered a fringe theory, CTE has now been embraced as a fact, and a consequence of playing brutal contact sports.
Notably, the NFL has attempted to take measures that would make the game safer, and minimize the health risks to its employees.
One of the biggest challenges that researchers have faced to this point is diagnosing the disease in living patients. To this point, CTE has only been observed in post-mortem examinations of the brain.
However, that has all changed.
Researchers at Boston University believe they have developed a method that could help in diagnose patients while they are still alive.
The exact science likely goes way beyond the comphrension of laymen, but in essence, BU researches are finding heightened levels of a particular biomarker called CCL11 in former football players.
The results come after a study that looked at the brains of 23 former college and pro football players, 50 non-athletes living with Alzheimer’s, and 18 non-athletes.
If researchers are able to definitively diagnose CTE in living patients, it could have massive ramifications for the viability of football in the United States. Players have already shown increasing readiness to call it a career since CTE research has become accepted and credible by mainstream sources.
Photo Credit: NBC News