Many scientists believe that repeated blows to the head increase risks for developing CTE.
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Research on 202 former football players found evidence of brain disease in nearly all of them, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. It's the largest update on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a brain disease linked with repeated head blows. CTE was diagnosed in 177 former players or nearly 90 percent of brains studied. That includes 110 of 111 brains from former NFL players; 48 of 53 college players; nine of 14 semiprofessional players, seven of eight Canadian Football league players and three of 14 high school players. The disease was not found in brains from two younger players. After years of denials, the NFL acknowledged a link between head blows and brain disease and agreed in a $1 billion settlement to compensate former players who had accused the league of hiding the risks.In the new report, McKee and colleagues found the most severe disease in former professional players; mild disease was found in all three former high school players diagnosed with the disease. Brain bank researchers previously reported that the earliest known evidence of CTE was found in a high school athlete who played football and other sports who died at age 18 .
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