I deeply appreciate the Slant note (EW, 9/19) about a Portland high school’s problem populating their football teams. However, I’d like to clarify and emphasize that years of research have established that it is definitely not concussions that cause Chronic Encephalopathy (CTE).
The accrual of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hits damages the brain causing “repetitive brain trauma.” Many if not most ex-players suffering debilitating CTE had no record of any concussion. A Boston University study found that “the brain pathology was unrelated to signs of concussion.”
Parents absolutely need to know this so they don’t simply plan to remove their child from football after the first concussion. Until that time, they would unknowingly be operating on untrue and dangerous misinformation.
As a person with a loved one suffering from football-caused CTE debilitation almost akin to a living death — almost no intelligible speech, an almost nonexistent social life, dependence on others for everything, including eating, self-organization, health care, finances — I will celebrate the year we decide this dangerous pastime is not worth the loss of one more precious person.
Or are we like the Romans who didn’t seem to mind knowing our entertaining “gladiators” might die an early death?
P.S., CTE also drastically shortens lifespan.