A 25-year-old ex-college football player’s head has got repeatedly hit by football and now after his death his head has shown signs of brain damage. According to the US researchers this could offer fresh clues about how concussions affect athletes.
The young man was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is a traumatic brain disorder that can be diagnosed only at the time of an autopsy. Researchers have reported in JAMA Neurology that the young man had died because of cardiac arrest linked to an infection in his heart, but the autopsy has shown signs of brain damage consistent with CTE.
In a mail, lead study author Dr. Ann McKee of Boston University said, “There is a common perception that CTE affects only professional athletes; this case as well as many others shows us that contact sports athletes at the amateur level are also at risk for the disease”.
In the report, McKee and colleagues have noted that the young man was not the first former football player to get diagnosed with CTE after playing contact sports for years, but this specific athlete had gone through a series of psychological and cognitive tests before dying, offering some insight into how development of CTE symptoms might take place.
At the mere age of 6 years, the athlete began playing American football and played for 16 years. He used to play for Division I college football as a defensive linebacker and was special team player.
He had suffered over 10 concussions while playing football and the first one occurred when he was just 8 years old. But, he never needed to get hospitalized due to it.