Current Event Essay examples
By Nadia Kounang, CNN updated 4:38 PM EDT, Wed September 5, 2012
(CNN) -- Just hours before the 2012 NFL season kicks off, a new study suggests that professional football players are three times more likely to have neurodegenerative diseases than the general population.
When researchers specifically looked at Alzheimer's disease and ALS -- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease -- that risk increased to four times greater than the rest of us.
The study, published Wednesday in the medical journal Neurology, surveyed nearly 3,500 retired NFL players who were in the league between 1959 and 1988.
The National Institute …show more content…
The NFL has repeatedly stated that player safety is a priority and that "any allegation that the NFL intentionally sought to mislead players has no merit."
Ohio State linebacker choosing career over concussions
While the study published Wednesday did not examine players' concussion history of the players, researchers did investigate whether the position played made a difference.
The study authors found that players in speed positions like quarterbacks and running backs were three times more likely to develop neurodegenerative disease than players in non-speed or lineman positions.
"If you had a quarterback running at a wide receiver, there's a lot of velocity," Lehman said.
However, "We have to be very careful and note that we don't know if this is a result of concussions," says Jeffrey Kutcher, associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.
"Are these increased risks because of exposure to contact? In their words, there's an assumption that there is causality there. I think a general lifestyle of playing sport at a competitive level is abusive. It's hard to do physically and mentally."
In addition, genetics and family history may also be factors for dementia and Alzheimer's but weren't