What is CTE? And What Effect Is It Having On The NFL?
The NFL and its high-profile players are often in the news and discussed in the media for their various dramas and disputes, but recent headlines have focused on a much more serious subject than celebrity love matches and Twitter spats. The number of players and ex-players being diagnosed with serious brain injuries, most commonly CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) is increasing all of the time, causing concern for those who currently play the game.
How Is CTE Caused?
CTE is caused by frequent concussions, which are common to those who play contact sports with regular risk of bumps and trauma to the head – such as American Football. A condition that often can’t be diagnosed until after death, it is a degenerative illness that results in brain damage causing memory loss, lessened brain function and cognitive ability, personality changes, aggression and suicidal thoughts. The inability to properly test for CTE until death has meant that many of those who have sadly committed suicide have been unable to be adequately treated while still alive; although now newer triage methods are available to offer a much earlier diagnosis.
There’s no known cure for CTE, but the development of the condition can be slowed with prevention methods. These lessen the impact of head trauma as well as allowing any head injuries to fully recover before there is any risk of them happening again or being aggravated.
Such prevention methods include protective headwear and the moderation of behaviour on-pitch, but the consumption of neuroprotectants are growing in popularity as their potential becomes better understood. The use of CBD for concussion treatment is one such substance, and an organic one, that seems in clinical trials to work effectively to not only block damage to brain cells but to prevent further injury from occurring where it has already.
When taken, CBD stimulates the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and forms a barrier around them, protecting them from harm (or further harm, if already damaged). When this works in conjunction with the plant’s naturally-occurring anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties, sufferers of concussion can feel tangible benefits whilst their recovery is being boosted.
Whilst the use of CBD for concussion is much discussed, it has yet to reach mainstream adoption in the NFL; and certainly not publicly. There are various debates and discussions ongoing amongst the NFL’s regulatory and medical teams to investigate further the pros and cons of using CBD and it’s believed by most that eventually, attitudes will change and it will become more acceptable.
For now, no matter the skill level of a player (NFL or otherwise!), it’s important that an individual’s health is put first and that players, training staff and coaches strive to protect all. Speak with your sports team, medical advisors and do some of your own research to find the best protectant for you.