By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) It’s not surprising to anyone who has been paying close attention to what doctors and scientists have long warned, but the results of a new Mayo Clinic study on football and brain damage were sobering, still.
Published in this month’s issue of Acta Neuropathologica, it details an investigation of the clinic’s existing brain bank to look for evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in those who competed in contact sports in high school, and the “significant and surprising” amount of the disease detected.
It correlated to men involved in a range of contact sports, but the lead author of the study noted that more football players had CTE than those involved in any other activity.
What separates this study from those already well known at Boston University and elsewhere is the neutrality of the sample. These were the clinical records of 1,700 cases in an existing brain bank, not a group already pre-selected for the specific study of CTE, as for example those marked for donation by current and former NFL players.
It’s just a snapshot of a group of people, and the picture of the real effect of just a little bit of football isn’t good.