The National Football League's (NFL) concussion rates are rising very rapidly, causing the league to increase protocol to provide better protection for players. Although the athletes may not be aware of it now due to their love for the game, they may be at risk for degenerative brain diseases known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) or other brain impairments. Researchers recruited five retired NFL players, who were 45 years of age or older, each having a previous history of at least one concussion, with some experiencing cognitive or mood impairments. The players held several different positions including: linebacker, quarterback, guard, center and defensive lineman. Results were published by The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and found that compared to the healthy men, the NFL players had higher levels of FDDNP in the amygdala and subcortical regions of the brain (Glauder). These regions of the brain control learning, memory, behavior, emotions, and other mental and physical functions (Glauder). With the given statistics, I believe the national football league has an issue with CTE, and should emphasize the possible long term effects of the disease to its players.
Rehabilitation Research and Practice defines CTE as a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is a long term effect of single or repetitive close head injuries from which there is no treatment and no definite pre-mortem diagnosis (Saulle, Greenwald). It was first described in 1928 by Dr. Harrison Martland, a New Jersey Medical Examiner when he began to note a pattern of symptoms in boxers, labelling them as "punch drunk" later being termed as dementia pugilistica, literally meaning dementia of a fighter (Saulle, Greenwald). Since the illness has closely been related to athletes who partake in high contact sports such as boxing, American football, soccer, and hockey, CTE became a very popular topic within professional leagues.