Shocking statistic: 96 percent of pro football players suffered from brain disease before death

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Reuters / David Stobbe

Nearly all of the former professional football players examined as part of a recent study were found to have had suffered from a degenerative brain disease that’s increasingly being linked to America’s favorite sport, a new report reveals.

According to the study — first reported on Tuesday this week by journalists at the PBS programFrontline — 96.2 percent of deceased pro footballers had the condition, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, before dying.

Researchers at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs’ brain repository in Bedford, Massachusetts were limited with regards to the number of samples available, but nevertheless studied the brains of 79 ex-National Football League athletes and soon determined that all but three — 76 of the 79 — showed evidence of CTE.

Jason Breslow reported for Frontline that researchers studied the brain tissue of 128 footballers in all who played semiprofessionally, in college, in high school or for the NFL before dying and determined that 101 athletes, or 80 percent of the entire sample, tested positive for CTE. With respect to pro athletes, the statistic is closer to nine-out-of-ten.

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