Concussions and CTE: More complicated than even the experts know

Dr. Michael Jaffee is one of the experts mentioned in the July 31, 2017 issue of The Conversation’s article on Concussions.

For many, American football is a beautiful game that is simple to enjoy but complex to master. Choreographed with a mixture of artistry and brutality, it features the occasional “big hit” or bone-jarring tackle, forcing a fumble and turning the tide of the game.

But with this part of football comes justified concern about the long-term health effects of engaging in this type of activity over time, concerns that abound in practically every high-impact contact sport. It is possible that effects of continued involvement may accumulate quietly in the background until they show themselves, later in life.

A recent study appeared to give a “big hit” to the game of football itself, with findings that nearly all the brains of 111 deceased NFL players  studied showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

At the University of Florida, our interdisciplinary team has studied brain injuries in athletes, military veterans and civilians for many years. Regarding sports concussion, there are many gaps in our knowledge and many associated issues to consider as we develop ways to keep our athletes, both young and old, safe.

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