Do Concussions Cause CTE? Sports Doctors and Scientists Disagree.
This is a guest post by Dan Siegel, of Sports Health Solutions and the Sports Health Network. Dan has a medical degree from Boston University and is an orthopedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic.
Many of us know that concussions can lead to subconcussive hits. At the same time, there is a growing consensus that the risk of developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is much greater if the athlete’s team or the sport they play plays a major role in the development of TBI. The NFL is now under scrutiny because of numerous recent reports of high-profile players from the past years with long-term health problems related to repetitive brain trauma. The NFL and other professional sports leagues must take a public stance about the dangers of repetitive head injuries, or risk losing the ability to fund health research and improve public awareness of concussions and brain health. While there is a large consensus among prominent sports medicine and neuroscientists on the importance of concussion-related brain health research and education efforts, the NFL has yet to fully address the issue.
While the NFL is far from perfect in terms of concussion awareness and education, it is important for the league and the other sports to adopt a more proactive posture toward the public’s health concerns related to repetitive brain trauma. Concussion-related injuries are not the work of the few, but rather of the many.
Concussions are a unique injury in that many of the individuals who suffer from the injury are athletes who participate in contact sports such as football. Most of the research regarding concussions has focused on the impacts from sports-related concussions. Other types of concussions and repetitive brain injuries have been researched less.
There’s a growing consensus that repetitive brain injuries can result in CTE which is a neurological disease that may ultimately end with a disease of the brain.
The consensus is that TBI plays a large role in the development of CTE in athletes. The concussive force from TBI causes damage to the grey matter of the brain. It doesn’t matter if the TBI is a single blow or