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Study: CTE found in people with no history of contact sports

A media frenzy that started about a decade ago led to introduction of the public to the scientific term CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), and almost immediately (right, wrong, or indifferent) CTE and football became forever linked.

Along with some help from studies that shed an important light on some issues, football has evolved and is now considered by most everyone in the coaching profession safer than it has ever been based on an increased awareness and some much-needed rule and policy changes.

However, a new study of eight men released earlier this week featured in Sports Medicine Research shows that CTE had been found in six of those subjects, who had no history of contact sports or history of neurotrauma.

While the sample size is certainly small and more testing will be needed to draw a more definitive conclusion, the results will be very interesting to football coaches and other coaches of contact sports.

From the research:

"The authors found that 75% of the small case series met the neuropathological criteria for CTE, but none of the men had a known history of participation in contact sports or had a history of multiple concussions. This is important because some researchers have asserted that CTE is a pathology that only afflicts those involved in contact sports; however, CTE may affect those with neurodegenerative diseases or drug addictions."

The research adds that, larger studies are needed to understand the risk factors for CTE but this does line up with some larger studies "that have found CTE among 1 to 6% of people."

Perhaps most importantly, the abstract concludes that, "It is vital that athletes and parents understand that CTE is found in the general population and despite common media attention we are only beginning to understand who is at risk for CTE and why."

Head here to read more on the research.