CTE Autopsy Studies May be Key to Long Term Understanding of Brain Injury
More than a dozen present and former NFL players have pledged to donate their brains for research on concussion, the Associated Press reported Monday. http://www.latimes.com/sports/football/nfl/wire/sns-ap-fbn-nfl-concussions-players-brains,0,1348935.story
The players, who include Hall of Fame member Mike Haynes and Chicago linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, will donate their brains and spinal cord tissue after their deaths to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at the Boston University School of Medicine.
Boston University researchers claim they have found ties between repeated head trauma and brain damage among football players, a former NHL player and boxers, according to AP. The researchers have criticized the NFL about its allegedly lenient approach to concussions.
Among those who have committed to donate their brains to the research project are: Sean Morey of the Arizona Cardinals; Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens; and Lofa Tatupa of the Seattle Seahawks. In addition, the wife of Hall of Fame member John Mackey, who has dementia, has agreed to donate his brain to the research project, AP reported.
In response to the issues raised by the Boston University researchers, and following a congressional hearing on pro football and concussions, the NFL has instituted tougher rules in terms of letting players take the field after getting hit in the head.
This is such an important thing, even though it will take generations to make an impact. The only real way to determine the full extent of brain damage is through autopsy, because the neurons and other brain cells which get damaged, are too small to see except under a microscope.