The Australian Sports Brain Bank (ASBB) researches chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – a type of brain injury caused by repetitive head traumas. It’s now been running for three years and has released findings on 21 sportspeople who donated their brains to the organisation for research.
All donors had played in sports with a risk of repetitive head injury, usually a football code. The ASBB found all but one donor had some form of neurodegeneration, and most had at least two different kinds of brain injury.
CTE was most often detected in the brains of people who had played professionally, but was also found in non-professional players, including younger ones.
Other research has found even small repeated head injuries (like heading a soccer ball) was linked to poorer verbal memory in amateur players. It all points to parents in particular being aware of the risks of head trauma if their child is playing a high-risk sport. It’s also important that coaches follow concussion protocols