Dr. Ann McKee: Thousands of Subconcussive Hits Can Lead to CTE

You don’t see it. There’s no blood, no pain. Even though players may not be immediately affected, we’re learning that those thousands of hits provoke neurogenerative disease, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).Dr. Ann McKee explains.

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What I found in football players surprised me because I really hadn’t realized that they were getting repetitive brain trauma. And the reason for that is you don’t see it. It’s an invisible injury. There’s no blood. There’s no pain. They’re not immediately affected because what we’ve learned now is that those low-level hits, the sub-concussive hits, they’re not symptomatic. They don’t cause them to play poorly. You know, they feel fine. They play very well through them, but we’ve found that the cumulative exposure to these low-level hits that happen on every play of every game in football. That is what leads to this neurodegeneration called CTE. That it’s a small level of damage that occurs, but with repetitive injury, which could be small, but just over the thousands and thousands of hits that they get through their career, it provokes a neurodegenerative disease. This video was produced by BrainLine thanks to generous support from the Infinite Hero Foundation.
Posted on BrainLine January 11, 2019.

This video was produced by BrainLine thanks to generous support from the Infinite Hero Foundation.

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