Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a degenerative brain disease that's affected hundreds and hundreds of NFL players, and that's likely just a fraction of the actual number harmed, considering the only way to detect the disease is post-mortem. While CTE is a known issue, the extent of its prevalence has never been entirely clear. A report from PBS released today provides the clearest picture yet of how many NFL players depart the league with the disease. The answer? Way, way more than you probably thought.
At Boston University, a group of researchers worked alongside folks at the Department of Veteran Affairs to test 91 total former NFL players for signs of the disease. Out of those 91 players, 87 tested positive for CTE. That's 96% of players, meaning—if the results are valid and accurate—it's impossible to play in the NFL without retiring with CTE.
As PBS reports, CTE is "widely believed to stem from repetitive trauma to the head, and can lead to conditions such as memory loss, depression and dementia."
PBS also cites some potential "caveats," such as the fact that subjects who donated their brain for research may have suspected they had the disease, but also notes that the findings line up closely with previous studies suggesting a link between "football and long-term brain disease."
Don't forget to check your fantasy lineups on Sunday!
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.