Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best Post of July '10: More evidence that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is linked to playing football

The next in our Best of the Month Series is from July 2, 2010:

Recent neuropathological autopsy findings of a 26-year-old NFL player lend further credence to the idea that perhaps our high school children should not be playing football. Former Cincinnati Bengals player Chris Henry, who died after falling from a moving pick-up truck during a fight with his fiancee, was found to have histomorphologic evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). See the tau-immunohistochemistry photomicrograph from Henry's brain above. The findings consist of neurofibrillary tangles similar to those seen in Alzheimer disease. This CNN.com article raises the question in my mind of whether school districts should offer genetic testing to potential players, as one's apolipoprotein E genetic status seems to indicate the likelihood that one might be more susceptible to the development of CTE. In any case, I intend to forbid my own son from playing football and from boxing. Any other sport is fair game. But I will not allow him to a participate in a sport where head injury is intrinsic not only to playing the game, but even participating in practices. This is not to say that I'm some kind of a pansy who is averse to any risk. I will allow my child to play any other sport, as head injury in other sports occur merely as accidents. But football and boxing will remain off-limits in my home.

1 comment:

Forensic Pathology Blog said...

Maybe we should make screening for APOe part of the sports physical! There was a great review of the topic in the Sept 30 NEJM: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1007051