Date of Award
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has recently received extensive media coverage, significantly increasing interest in concussions and their relation to the brain disease. As research continues on the disease and the protein Tau that is associated with it, it is imperative to find a correlation between any possible causation other than concussions. All American football players suffer subconcussive impacts, yet only some are diagnosed with the disease, leading most to believe there is something missing. Interviews were conducted with multiple university officials who work in sports and health, former football players, and team doctors. After interviews, 18 former football players who died of CTE were researched to determine possible correlations that could become a link between CTE and athletes. After this survey, further research was done on specific topics that were mentioned frequently as possible correlations, such as age of first exposure, longevity of play, position on the field, HGH, painkillers, and alcohol. Longevity of play was frequent with the players researched, while the mechanism of alcohol favored the mechanism of the Tau protein. From this research, possible correlations can be further researched to begin the process of discovering the missing link between CTE and athletes.
Ferguson, Thomas Brent, "A Survey on Research Gaps in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and American Football Players" (2017). Honors Theses. 910.