Whether you’re an avid football fan at a professional level or went to a Big-10 school, this news is shocking. The progressive brain degenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE, has been found in 99% of brains from deceased NFL players. Not only will this have ramifications for the game of football, but every other sport where head-trama is prevalent. What role can cannabis play in combatting this disease?
What is CTE?
CTE was made famous in 2015 film Concussion, which starred Will Smith. It tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered the condition and tried to expose the NFL’s knowledge of this type of disease impacting retired players.
CTE occurs in athletes due to repeated head-trama. The disease progresses relatively rapidly through a number of stages, with symptoms ranging from general confusion to memory loss, as well as erratic behavior, and ultimately to dementia and other serious health conditions.
Who is impacted?
Athletes in a range of sports have been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. While the disease can only be diagnosed postmortem, athletes are more and more aware of the trials they will face after a life on the athletic field.
A recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examined 202 brains from deceased football players and found CTE in 177 players at all levels. That’s 87 percent.
Out of the 111 former National Football League players whose brains were studied, 110 were found with CTE. That’s 99 percent.
The key finding is that “players of American football may be at increased risk of long-term neurological conditions, particularly chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
What can athletes do?
Not just NFL athletes are diagnosed with CTE. Other groups of athletes affected include but are not limited to the NHL, MMA, rugby players, and stunt men. Additionally, one does not have to have been a professional athlete to have CTE – head injuries throughout high school and college can also lead to CTE, which this study explored.
After examining the brains of deceased high school and college athletes who formerly played football 177 of 202 were diagnosed with CTE. That is an astounding statistic regarding CTE occurrence outside of professional sports.
Luckily, a diverse group of athletes is prepared to do something about it as well as other problems that pro athletes face in retirement.
Athletes For Care is a nonprofit organization created by athletes for athletes. They hope to educate and empower fellow athletes and communities while also funding research dedicated to prevention and health. You better believe that retired NFL players involved with A4C are concerned about CTE and the safety of those playing football.
What can cannabis do?
A few days ago, the NFL announced that it will begin to research cannabis as a pain-management tool for athletes. This is a huge step and in complete contrast to what we have heard from the NFL before.
For obvious reasons, THC can help those having to manage pain. In addition, CBD is able to help in this arena as well. Together, these two cannabinoids may be able to not only help athletes manage pain but keep their brains healthy.
Professional athletes like Jake Plummer and Bas Rutten have been vocal about their support for CBD, its benefits, and the need for further research on cannabinoids in general. Hopefully, as more and more athletes come out in support of cannabis, the NFL and other athletic associations will begin to take cannabis seriously.