USA (Next Media) – A study by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University found that 87 out of 91 former NFL players tested suffered from a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
CTE is a brain disease that researchers believe us caused by repetitive head trauma. Brain scans can detect signs of CTE, but it can only be confirmed posthumously.
The disease causes a protein called tau to form around blood vessels in the frontal lobe. During stage two, sufferers may experience rage, impulsivity, or depression. Symptoms of stage three include confusion and memory loss as the tau protein spreads to other parts of the brain. Stage four is marked by dementia, as nerve cells in the brain die.
During the final stages of CTE, the brain withers to roughly half the size of a normal brain.
A federal judge has approved a $1 billion settlement between the NFL and thousands of ex-players. The money will go toward medical exams and concussion research among payment for damages.
SOURCES: PBS, NFL