Former NFL player, Junior Seau, who committed suicide suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to autopsy results from the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers performed the study at a center that specializes in chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Since its inception, the center has established a bank for brains from athletes that had requested their brains be tested for the condition, as well.
In his 20-year career, Seau sustained almost 2,000 hits from tackles during play, which more than likely caused the personality changes and severe depression from a number of concussions, said the doctors.
Four neuropathologists studied Seau’s brain, which was donated by his family members. What they found included clusters of the protein called tau, which led them to their diagnoses of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The protein was folded into tangles and threads in the brain stem, according to the report. The results of the tests are revealed using high resolution MRI scans on the brain tissue that sustained repetitive injury.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is common for those who play sports such as football, boxers and other contact sports.
With the dangers of concussions becoming more apparent, thousands of players in the National Football League are filing lawsuits, claiming they were misled about such risk. Family members of former players have also said they have been aware of the changes of behaviors.
Currently, the condition of chronic traumatic encephalopathy can only be diagnosed following death, but experts assume the technology and research will only become more advanced with time. Already there is additional research concerning members of the military who suffer from concussions during active duty while overseas.
Source: MedPage Today, “Junior Seau Had CTE, NIH Says,” Nancy Walsh, Jan. 10, 2013
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