Mayo brain damage study shows non-professional athletes at risk of degenerative brain disorder
In a recent study published in Sports Illustrated from the Mayo Clinic, a link has been made between contact sports and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. “CTE is a progressive degenerative disease caused by repetitive brain trauma. It can affect mood, behavior and cognition”. Contact sports include football, rugby, lacrosse, wrestling, boxing, etc. Numerous studies have been done on the affects that these sports have on professional athletes, but this study focuses on children and young adults playing amateur sports.
The Mayo Clinic looked at more than 1,700 brains in their Brain Bank. A startling 32% of the 66 males that played contact sports during their youth showed that they had developed CTE.
This study makes a seemingly unlikely problem very real. Many young athletes will begin their amateur careers not thinking about the potential damage they may cause themselves. This damage could range from a broke arm to a permanent brain condition. Kevin Bieniek, as quoted in the SI article said, “The purpose of our study is not to discourage children and adults from participating in sports because we believe the mental and physical health benefits are great…It is vital that people use caution when it comes to protecting the head”.
By introducing new technology in sports, there will be less health problems and healthier, longer-living athletes.