The danger of CTE will increase by 14% per yr of rugby play, even in amateurs — Concussion Alliance

The danger of CTE will increase by 14% per yr of rugby play, even in amateurs — Concussion Alliance

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By Melissa Brown. This text was initially printed within the 2/1/24 version of our Concussion Replace e-newsletter; please take into account subscribing.

In October 2023, Willie Stewart et al. printed a paper in Acta Neuropathologica demonstrating an affiliation between the event of CTE and the size of an individual’s rugby profession. On this retrospective research, researchers analyzed mind autopsies from three worldwide mind banks, together with these on the Boston College Faculty of Drugs (UNITE), the Glasgow TBI Archive, and the Australian Sports activities Mind Financial institution in Sydney. Of the 32 brains, 21 brains (68%) confirmed a variety of severities of CTE. When Stewart and the group adjusted for a variety of elements, they discovered a dose-response relationship between rugby profession size and severity of CTE presentation, with threat growing by 14% per yr of play. Moreover, 23 brains (74%) have been from people who solely ever performed novice rugby. The authors be aware that “in respect of CTE, a minimum of, our information recommend that stage of participation doesn’t shield towards growth of this neurodegenerative pathology.”

These authors be aware a limitation in sampling. Specifically, solely brains donated to those banks have been used, making choice bias a potential issue; brains donated are sometimes from people whose households have been involved that the person’s signs would possibly point out CTE. Additionally, solely one of many 31 brains was feminine, and a lot of the donated brains have been novice gamers. Usually, research conclusions, such because the dose-response impact of accelerating CTE threat per yr of play, ought to solely be utilized to the pattern analyzed. Nonetheless, the authors reference a 2023 study discovering skilled athletes to have elevated threat for neurological illnesses (e.g., ALS and dementia) with no such affiliation in amateurs, thus contextualizing their findings (notably these pertaining to novice gamers) into the broader image of the connection between neurodegeneration and phone sports activities historical past. 

This research provides to rising proof that enjoying contact sports activities will increase gamers’ threat for growing neurodegenerative illness and, independently, CTE pathology. Earlier research reveal a significantly higher threat of concussion in rugby gamers in comparison with different contact sports activities like American Soccer, ice hockey, and wrestling. Additionally, Over the previous 20 years, the chance for concussions on the skilled stage has been increasing. Nonetheless, a latest research by the Boston CTE heart discovered that repetitive subconcussive hits contributed to the chance of CTE and that concussions were not a significant risk factor for CTE. Stewart’s group had related findings, as they write, “Whereas historical past of TBI with lack of consciousness and/or concussion was widespread amongst instances with CTE, this was not considerably totally different to prevalence amongst instances with out CTE.” This present research by Stewart et al. signifies a necessity higher than ever to develop security precautions and protocols for gamers in any respect ranges. 

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