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Research connects playing rugby with brain disease

New Jersey residents are likely familiar with the controversy surrounding the number of former professional football players who suffer from a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy. The development of the condition has been linked with the repetitive head trauma associated with playing football, but research published in May 2015 by the Quarterly Journal of Medicine indicates that the risks may be shared by athletes who compete in other sports.

The work done in this area has focused mainly on the development of CTE among football players and boxers who have suffered repeated concussions. Rugby is a contact sport similar to football, and concussion rates are high. The published research concerns a man who played competitive rugby at a high level for over 30 years, and he was diagnosed with CTE after he passed away at the age of 57.

According to the research, medical professionals would be prudent to consider CTE as possible in any cases involving any athletes who have played contact sports and demonstrate symptoms of dementia. Researchers also pointed out that medical clinics often believe that the only athletes at risk of developing the disease due to head injuries are boxers. However, it is hoped that the publicity surrounding concussions and brain injuries among NFL players will increase awareness of CTE among other athletes.

Traumatic brain injuries are often life-changing events, and those who suffer such injuries are sometimes unable to work for prolonged periods. When such an injury is caused by the negligent action of another person, the victim may wish to speak with a personal injury attorney to explore the available remedies for seeking compensation for the damages that have been incurred.

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