Soccer Players Could Be at Risk for CTE — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
February 15, 2017

Soccer Players Could Be at Risk for CTE

By Joe Elia

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM

Soccer players seem at risk for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a small case series in Acta Neuropathologica suggests.

Researchers followed 14 retired footballers who'd presented with dementia. There were a total of six reported concussions among the players during their average 26 years of play. Six had postmortem examinations of the brain; in four of these, features characteristic of CTE were present.

The authors "hypothesize that CTE and, probably, [other neuropathology such as Alzheimer's disease] in these retired footballers are related to their past prolonged exposure to repetitive subconcussive head impacts from heading and head-to-player collisions."

They caution that their findings do "not provide a firm causal relationship" with CTE, but support the "pressing need" for large-scale studies on which protective measure might be based.

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