As a talking point, conversations about head trauma and football aren’t going away. And a study released Wednesday by the Concussion Legacy Foundation shows the impact of said trauma to be more widespread than ever.
The Foundation announced that more than 100 college football programs were found to have at least one former player who had contracted chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a degenerative brain disease that can be caused by repeated head trauma.
Every Power 5 conference had at least one school tied to the study. The Big Ten had the second-most cases, with 22, trailing only the SEC’s 28. The Pac-12 (20), ACC (10) and Big 12 (eight) followed after that.
The Foundation reported that, as of Oct. 18, “91 percent” of the 152 college football players studied have been diagnosed with CTE. Of that group, roughly two-thirds went on to play professionally. The study includes players who played collegiately going as far back as 1969.
Among Big Ten programs, former Michigan State players turned up the most times in the study, with seven — including NFL stars Bubba Smith and Earl Morrall. At least three former players at Purdue, Wisconsin and Michigan were also mentioned in the Foundation’s report:
— Concussion L.F. (@ConcussionLF) October 19, 2016
The study pooled data from the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, which is a collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston University, and the Concussion Legacy Foundation. The Foundation said the point of the study was not to suggest the number of CTE cases is tied to any specific program or conference, but to underscore that repeated blows to the head can affect the health of a player’s brain even if they never play another down past the collegiate level.