It wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that the NFL finally started to pay closer attention to its players’ safety and, most importantly, concussions.

For several decades (the league had its inaugural season in 1920), team doctors never understood the long-term effects of head injuries, and in most cases, players would continue to play, despite a loss of coordination.

While the league currently protects its players by implementing new rules and raising awareness, it’s an issue that will haunt the sport until the end of time. Why? Well, football is a contact sport.

Now, a shocking new study conducted by Frontline gives us even more chilling data. A whopping 96 percent of deceased NFL players who took part in a test tested positive for the brain disease known as CTE.

The study says,

The findings represent a more than twofold increase in the number of cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, that have been reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ brain repository in Bedford, Mass.

Out of the 79 players studied, 76 of them suffered from this debilitating condition, which causes memory loss, depression and in most cases, dementia. In some cases, this can result in suicide, just like we saw with former NFL great, Junior Seau.

In a separate study, Frontline examined the brain tissue of 128 football players from all different levels of play, including high school, college, semi-pro and professional. Out of these players, 101 tested positive for CTE.

According to neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee,

Obviously this high percentage of living individuals is not suffering from CTE… playing football, and the higher the level you play football and the longer you play football, the higher your risk.

The NFL is receiving multiple lawsuits from former players beginning to feel the early effects of this disease.

In fact, 400 former players claim they were fed painkillers to mask their injuries during their playing careers and they’re looking for compensation.

If former trainers and coaches did lie to them and actually allowed them to keep playing, despite the serious risk, then they deserve every penny.

via PBS, Photo Courtesy: Twitter

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