A recent study performed at Boston University examined the relationship between head trauma and brain disease. The central point of the study—which was published in Oxford University's scientific journal of neurology, Brain—focuses on the link between repeated traumatic blows to the head and a brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
(Concussions have become a serious concern in most of today's impact sports. Check out what Reebok is doing to identify brain trauma.)
In the BU study, conducted over a four-year period, researchers collected and studied data from the autopsy reports of 85 deceased males between the ages of 17 and 98—most of whom had been professional athletes. Within their subject population of 85, they found evidence of CTE in 65 of the brains.
This study proves that CTE develops in athletes who frequently and consistently endure brain trauma over extended periods of time—often throughout the course of an entire career. The inescapable conclusions: head injury is extremely serious and should be treated as such at all levels of sports participation.
(Read up on the study's scientific details.)