Brain damage caused by football is cumulative

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Philadelphia Daily News has released “Deadly Aftershocks,” an in-depth look at the effect of the day-to-day bumps and knocks of a football career on players’ brains. Reporter Mark Kram talked to brain researchers who found damage associated with chronic traumatic encephalopathy was almost common among football players; even athletes as young as 18 showed some indications of it.

Cross-section of the human brain, courtesy of the NIH.

According to Kram’s sources, the only way to overcome the sport’s macho culture of shaking off injuries and jogging back into the fray would be to set up strict guidelines designed to protect the players from themselves.

The brain damage caused by football is cumulative and slow to develop, which makes it particularly tricky to prevent during the heat of athletic competition. Kram looks at the human and physical destruction wrought by this incremental descent into CTE through a series of anecdotes and profiles, drawing the story together with medical and physiological research.

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AHCJ has some resources about brain injuries:

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