New research shows that brain trauma caused by high school sports can have far reaching consequences beyond the teenage years. The neurodegenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been famously linked to many NFL players including Frank Gifford, Junior Seau and Terry Long. Brett Favre has said that he believes he has the disease. One study found that NFL players were three times more likely than the general public to be diagnosed with a brain or nervous system disease. The cause? Repeated hits to the head.

Now, scientists from the Mayo Clinic have found evidence of CTE in men who merely played contact sports in high school. In the study, the researchers analyzed the brains of 66 former high school athletes. 32 of them were found to have evidence of CTE. Though not all student athletes will develop CTE, some are more genetically predisposed to the condition. Athletes from most sports were represented, including boxing, football, wrestling, baseball and basketball. Unsurprisingly, football players had CTE more often than athletes in other sports.

Symptoms of CTE can include depression, dementia, aggression and suicidal thoughts. CTE can only be officially diagnosed post mortem.

Scientists still don’t know exactly which type of hits or how many hits a person can take before experiencing brain trauma, but it is currently being studied. In the meantime, student athletes should take extra precaution on the field by avoiding unnecessary hits and wearing more protective safety equipment.

Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer

Richard Serpe is an experienced Virginia brain injury attorney. If you sustained a brain injury because of someone else’s negligence, you have legal rights. Our office has helped victims of personal injuries for over 29 years. If you’d like to discuss your situation with our office, contact us toll free 877-544-5323.