Keep in mind the hullabaloo about 5 – 6 years in the past over soccer gamers’ continual traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative neurological illness brought on by repeated blows to the pinnacle, which results in often-severe cognitive, temper, and behavioral difficulties? In 2017, a Boston College examine of 111 brains of deceased former NFL gamers discovered that 110 of them had CTE.
The place do issues stand now? Recent research means that gamers will probably be safer on the sphere in the course of the Tremendous Bowl this Sunday than they’re throughout apply: A examine published Monday in JAMA Neurology discovered that almost all concussions and head blows occur throughout practices, not video games—and that these accidents are extra frequent in preseason. General, head blows in practices had been 84% increased than in video games. The examine, which targeted on faculty soccer, adopted 528,000 head impacts over 4 years.
The NFL’s response to the problem of head accidents has been to throw cash at it: a $765 million settlement with gamers over head accidents in 2013, adopted by a $1 billion settlement for retired gamers, in addition to a 2016 pledge $100 million towards CTE research and engineering. The NFL had beforehand restricted the variety of full-contact practices per season, although COVID-related season modifications this yr allowed an unusual string of alternatives for in-practice head accidents.
Final summer time an Israeli staff discovered that CTE, which is usually recognized after dying, could be identified in live players with MRIs that measure leakage of the blood-brain barrier. Different efforts to diagnose residing gamers have followed. This yr, the pandemic has usurped research and media consideration, however the risk to gamers stays as dire as ever.