Ninety-nine percent of former NFL players who donated their brain to science turned out to have the devastating disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), according to a new report. People with the disorder experience problems with thinking and memory, mood disorders, and behavioral problems, Daneshvar said. Lack of impulse control, aggression, depression, impaired judgment, memory loss, paranoia, confusion and progressive dementia are some of the symptoms that can occur.
Researchers noted the numbers from this report cannot be applied to all football players in general, since these brains were specifically donated to be examined for CTE. “This is quite a biased sample. The patients were nearly all impaired during life. Families whose loved ones were sick during life are intuitively more likely to commit to brain donation, in part to get an explanation for what caused their loved one’s symptoms. In addition, the study was heavily weighted towards former professional players, and relatively few patients played at the high school level or lower. So we are looking at a sample of some of the sickest individuals who likely were exposed to a very high burden of traumatic brain injury.”