Scientists at Boston University’s CTE Research Center have announced today that they may be on the right track towards creating a test that can diagnose Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in living subjects. This is a big deal, because currently the condition is only able to be recognized after a sufferer has died. This has big implications for the NHL, where the issue of concussions and brain injury has been hotly debated. The condition causes neurological symptoms that mimic those of Parkinson and Alzheimer Disease, and can lead to severe degeneration over time. The ability to diagnose the condition in living subjects means that therapies could be developed to help reduce the impact of the condition.
A Breakthrough in CTE Research from Boston University
BU: “The findings of this study are the early steps toward identifying CTE during life." pic.twitter.com/RhywNsMWM9
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) September 26, 2017
The NHL has been a hotbed of discussion regarding the condition, with former players such as Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, Wade Belak, and most recently Steve Montador being diagnosed with the condition after their deaths, and many former players currently involved in a lawsuit against the league, claiming that rules and protocols failed to protect them from head injures.
Commissioner Gary Bettman has been criticized for his denial of the connection between head injuries and the development of CTE later in life, as well as hiring a physician with a history of denying the connection, despite there being numerous studies indicating the fact that there is indeed a connection. Even minor repetitive head trauma can lead to neurological damage, and his and the league’s repeated insistence that there is no connection is not only reckless, but dangerous to the health and well-being of players. Current procedures in the league’s concussion protocol are a good start, but further actions may need to be taken to reduce head injuries in players.
For more information on BU’s efforts to study and diagnose CTE, visit the CTE center’s page at https://www.bu.edu/cte/.