Are Contact Sports Dangerous?

Increased knowledge about the long-term effects from contact sports may catalyze rule changes.

See all videos interviews with Dr. Ann McKee.

It took a certain amount of time with contact sports before we actually realized that there was this sort of invisible injury and that the invisible injury had had long-term consequences. It took the NFL sort of growing older. The players that started in the '50s and '60s are now in their 70's and 80's and some of them are dying. And it took that period of time to recognize that there may be consequences that we didn't realize with the play of football. I definitely think that the more we know, the more we need to radically change the way we play these games-- football, soccer, hockey-- the more we need to change how they're played today. Because, all these problems have crept up on us. And certainly, how we're doing it now is causing some of these problems, at least in some people. So, I think, chances are we will dramatically dial back these games and change the rules, so that we can protect the players and still enjoy the sports.
Posted on BrainLine December 10, 2010.

Produced by Noel Gunther and Brian King, BrainLine.

About the author: Ann McKee, MD

Ann McKee, MD is the chief neuropathologist for the Framingham Heart Study and the Boston University-based Centenarian Study. She is also the chief neuropathologist for the Boston-based Veterans Administration Medical Centers and for the Sports Legacy Institute.

Ann McKee