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US health body officially acknowledges link between collision sports and CTE in historic ruling

Max Sherry

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US health body officially acknowledges link between collision sports and CTE in historic ruling

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has officially acknowledged what it describes as a 'causal link' between repeated blows to the head and the neurodegenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

With concussions being such a hot topic within sports around the globe, this is is the sort of landmark call that will undoubtedly have a big impacts on athletes and their respective trades.

According to new research from NIH, their findings suggest that there is a link between repeated blows to the head and CTE.

The leading biomedical agency says this connection with brain injury is "clear and unequivocal", per The Guardian.

“Now that causation has been established, the world has a tremendous opportunity to prevent future cases of CTE,” a spokesperson for the not-for-profit group the Concussion Legacy Foundation said.

“The only known cause of CTE is an environmental exposure, and in most cases a choice – the choice to play contact sports.

“Our goal is to reform all youth sports so they no longer include preventable repetitive head impacts before age 14 – no heading in soccer, no tackling in [American] football and rugby.

“This change, combined with logical limits to repeated head impacts in sports for people over 14 (such as no hitting in football/rugby practice and strict limits on headers in practice) would be expected to prevent the vast majority of future CTE cases.”

A trainer conducts a Head Injury Assessment on NRL star Cameron Murray. Credit: Supplied/NRL
A trainer conducts a Head Injury Assessment on NRL star Cameron Murray. Credit: Supplied/NRL
NRL star Sam Walker is taken off for a HIA. Credit: Supplied/NRL
NRL star Sam Walker is taken off for a HIA. Credit: Supplied/NRL

For various governing bodies looking to improve their concussion protocols, this ruling will come as huge significance and will subsequently shape how the sports are overseen and officiated.

That said, these new findings don't exactly match up with the opinions held by the Concussion in Sport Group (CISG).

Documents previously published by the CISG have seemingly played down brain injuries sustained during sports fixtures.

And reports from The Guardian suggest major sporting organisations - including the likes of FIFA, World Rugby and the IOC - have allegedly leaned on the CISG's position to defend themselves against legal action.

But with more and more reported cases of CTE being diagnosed, we could soon see a change to overall perception of collision sports – not just in the United States, but all over the world.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/ESPN/TNF/Alamy

Topics: Australia, NFL, American Football, US Sports

Max Sherry
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