Football, Data and Neurodegenerative Diseases

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A mortality study of 3439 professional football players was conducted by Everett Lehman,       Misty Hein, Sherry Baron and Christine Gersic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies and published in Neurology, a journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study reported that the death rate from neurodegenerative diseases was 3 times higher than the general U.S. population and that the rates for Alzheimer Disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis was 4 times higher. Football caused Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has been identified as a widespread neurodegenerative condition which has affected a number of retired prominent NFL players and has been associated with cognitive and psychological impairments and, in several cases, death by suicide.

The player group was associated with neurodegenerative disease were the speed positions who are most associated with building up sufficient speed and momentum before being tackled or tackling another player. These positions were identified as: fullback, halfback, defensive back, quarterback, running back, linebacker and tight end. This CDC study identified the elevated risks for neurodegenerative diseases in professional football players and further pointed out the need to conduct further research into the cumulative effects of brain injuries, specifically among individuals who have experienced multiple concussions to better understand the disease mechanism associated with CTE.

The data is revealing of the elevated risks associated with professional sports in which the risks of neurological injury are great and the potential long-term consequences of those injuries.We continue to highlight these studies in Brookhaven’s Neuroblog to alert our readers to prevention of traumatic brain injuries.

Click here to read the CDC Study:

http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2012/09/05/WNL.0b013e31826daf50.full.pdf+html

 

taglines: traumatic brain injury, concussions, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, brain injury and suicide

About Rolf Gainer Ph.D.

Dr. Rolf Gainer is the founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma as well as the Neurological Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Gainer is a psychologist with more than twenty-five years of experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. Dr. Gainer has designed and operated innovative rehabilitation programs in the United States and Canada for individuals who have been regarded as difficult to serve. He is currently involved in conducting two outcome studies related to the long-term issues faced by individuals with brain injuries and a dual diagnosis. He has presented papers throughout the United States and Canada in many professional conferences and educational forums.
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