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College concussions are still dangerous

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College concussions are still dangerous

The Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum will be the temporary home of the Rams until 2018. L.A. will have the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Photo credit: Adrian Luevano

The Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum will be the temporary home of the Rams until 2018. L.A. will have the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Photo credit: Adrian Luevano

The Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum will be the temporary home of the Rams until 2018. L.A. will have the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Photo credit: Adrian Luevano

The Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum will be the temporary home of the Rams until 2018. L.A. will have the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Photo credit: Adrian Luevano

John Dillion

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To most people, the letters “CTE” don’t mean much, if anything, but to those involved in the world of American football, those letters essentially mean death.

 

Health officials have known repeated concussions cause long-term damage since the late ‘90s. The American Academy of Neurology alleges there are three grades of concussions. The first grade does not require loss of consciousness and that symptoms last for under 15 minutes. The second grade also does not require a loss of consciousness, but the symptoms must last for over 15 minutes. Grade three, however, states there must be a loss of consciousness.

 

However, in 2000, a new study published by the same organization found that 60 percent of professional football players had at least one concussion and almost half of that population had over three.

 

Five years after the 2000 study, a sports medicine journal called Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found correlation between concussions and early-onset Alzheimer’s. In 2007, the same authors found that a person with one concussion was 150% more likely to have depression where a person with three concussions was 300% more likely to have depression.

 

In 2017, the NFL found that players had 281 concussions combined that year alone. Since 2012, there have been an average of around 250 concussions per year. Now, those letters come back into play.

 

CTE means chronic traumatic encephalopathy which is a debilitating disease where a certain type of protein spreads throughout the brain, killing brain cells. In 2012, a study in Brain: A Journal of Neurology claimed to find CTE in 15 former NFL players. CTE has also been found in veterans with repetitive brain damage.

 

Symptoms usually appear during mid-life and include thinking and memory issues. The disease has also been shown to correlate with confusion, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.

 

If athletes begin playing contact football as early as six, as some people do, the clock starts early. The Neurological Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital released a 2015 news brief linking men who participated in high school football to CTE.

 

Concussions happen often in football. If it happens at high school and the NFL, it definitely happens at the college level and athletes should take extra precaution when playing a dangerous contact sport like football.

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College concussions are still dangerous