Latest Sports Scores

Scoreboard

  • ALL
  • MLB
  • MLB
  • 6/23 7:05 PM EDT
    Tex0
    NYY0
  • 6/23 7:05 PM EDT
    Cin0
    Was0
  • 6/23 7:10 PM EDT
    LAA0
    Bos0
  • 6/23 7:10 PM EDT
    Min0
    Cle0
  • 6/23 7:10 PM EDT
    ChC0
    Mia0
  • 6/23 7:10 PM EDT
    Bal0
    TB0
  • 6/23 7:35 PM EDT
    Mil0
    Atl0
  • 6/23 8:10 PM EDT
    Oak0
    CWS0
  • 6/23 8:15 PM EDT
    Tor0
    KC0
  • 6/23 8:15 PM EDT
    Pit0
    StL0
  • 6/23 9:40 PM EDT
    Phi0
    Ari0
  • 6/23 10:10 PM EDT
    Hou0
    Sea0
  • 6/23 10:10 PM EDT
    Col0
    LAD0
  • 6/23 10:10 PM EDT
    Det0
    SD0
  • 6/23 10:15 PM EDT
    NYM0
    SF0

Study finds evidence of brain injury in living NFL veterans

Evidence Of Brain Injury Discovered In Living NFL Veterans

(Reuters) - More than 40 percent of retired NFL players tested with advanced scanning technology showed signs of traumatic brain injury, a much higher rate than in the general population, according to a new study of the long-term risks of playing American football.

SEE ALSO: Gordon breaks down in tears in 1st interview since Bobbi Kristina died

The research, presented at an American Academy of Neurology meeting that began in Vancouver on Monday, is one of the first to provide "objective evidence" of traumatic brain injury in a large sample of National Football League veterans while they are living, said Dr. Francis X. Conidi, one of the study's authors.

Conidi, a neurologist at the Florida Center for Headache and Sports Neurology and a faculty member at the Florida State University College of Medicine, said traumatic brain injury was often a "precursor" to CTE, a degenerative brain disease.

"What we do know is that players with traumatic brain injury have a high incidence of going on to develop neurological degenerative disease later on in life," Conidi told Reuters.

CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, has been found in dozens of the NFL's top players after they died. At present, a CTE diagnosis is only possible after death.

The brain tissue of 59 or 62 deceased former NFL players examined by Boston University's CTE Center have tested positive for CTE, according to its website. The disease, which can lead to aggression and dementia, may have led to the suicides of several NFL athletes, including Hall of Famer Junior Seau.

In the new study, the largest of its kind, 40 living former players were given sensitive brain scans, known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), as well as thinking and memory tests.

"No one has ever looked at this number of (living) players before," Conidi said.

The DTI scans, which measure water flow between parts of the brain, revealed damage in 17 of the men, or 43 percent. That percentage was about three times higher than among the general population, Conidi said. Traditional MRI scans showed signs of damage in 12 ex-players, or 30 percent.

The longer a player was in the league, the greater the likelihood the advanced scan would reveal signs of brain damage, the neurologist said, a correlation that did not show up with traditional scans. With both types of scanning, there was no relationship between the number of diagnosed concussions suffered by a player and signs of brain damage.

SEE ALSO: Biden may have just revealed who he'll vote for in '16

That finding suggests the constant banging that players experience during games and practices, especially those playing offensive and defensive line positions, puts them more at risk than the big hits that cause concussions, Conidi told Reuters.

One way of reducing the danger is by eliminating tackling during practices, Conidi said, a step that some Ivy League football programs have already taken.

Conidi said his study was "one piece of the puzzle" in understanding the link between brain damage and football, the most popular American sport and one that generates billions of dollars in revenue for its players, coaches and owners.

The issue has become the subject of a national conversation in recent years, thanks in part to the 2015 movie "Concussion," starring Will Smith. The film tells the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian pathologist who challenged the NFL with his research into CTE suffered by players.

After Omalu published his research, some 5,000 former players sued the NFL over brain injuries, claiming the league concealed the dangers of repeated head trauma. The players agreed to a settlement that could cost the NFL $1 billion, but the deal remains tied up in the courts.

Prominent former NFL players with CTE:

8 PHOTOS
Prominent cases of NFL players with CTE
See Gallery
Study finds evidence of brain injury in living NFL veterans
PITTSBURGH, PA - CIRCA 1987: Mike Webster #52 of Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during a game circa 1987 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Webster played for the Steelers from 1974-88. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Sporting News via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - NOVEMBER 19: Quarterback Earl Morrall #15 of the Miami Dolphins looks on from the sidelines against the New York Jets during an NFL football game at The Orange Bowl November 19, 1972 in Miami, Florida. Morrall played for the Dolphins from 1972-76. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
3 NOV 2002: San Diego Chargers Junior Seau during a game against the New York Jets at the Qualcomm Stadium Sunday November 3, 2002, in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Matt A. Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 25: Inside linebacker Jovan Belcher #59 of the Kansas City Chiefs wathces from the sideliens during his final game against the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
25 Oct 1998: Defensive tackle Shane Dronett #75 of the Atlanta Falcons in action during the game against the New York Jets at the Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Falcons 28-3. Mandatory Credit: Todd Warshaw /Allsport
1985: Dave Duerson #22 of the Chicago Bears looks on during a game in the 1985 season. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1950s: Frank Gifford provides the classic throwing motion in his University of Southern California Trojans uniform. Following his college days, Gifford went on to star for the NFL's New York Giants, then worked as a broadcaster for CBS and ABC's Monday Night Football. (University of Southern California/Collegiate Images via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.