From Abilene Christian University to Yale, an analysis released Friday showed that 147 college football programs had at least one former player diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The Concussion Legacy Foundation made the data, culled from a study released earlier this year by Boston researchers, public on Friday. Georgia had the most former players (nine) diagnosed with CTE and each member school of a Power Five conference (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) had at least one player diagnosed.
"Very few colleges can say they haven’t had a former player diagnosed with CTE," Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, told USA TODAY Sports. "There’s still no long-term healthcare for former college players and no investment in research. Hopefully this will inspire changes for the next generation of football players."
The analysis listed some junior colleges and colleges — like Cheyney University of Pennsylvania — that have dropped their football programs. If a player transferred, each school he played at was counted in the statistics compiled by the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Researchers from the VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine published a study in April that found 190 of 202 former football players had CTE. That group included the brains of 66 players who didn’t play professionally, 57 (86 percent) showing evidence of CTE.
"One of the reasons we did this analysis is because CTE is not just an NFL problem,"
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CTE is believed to develop due to repetitive impacts to the head, not just impacts that could result in a concussion. That April study co-authored by Boston University’s CTE Center director Ann McKee that was the basis for this analysis showed playing tackle football before age 12 led to behavioral and mood issues associated with CTE to develop earlier in life.
The only scientifically accepted means of diagnosing CTE remains a postmortem examination of the brain. Those brains — often donated by family members of deceased athletes — are more likely to have CTE since individuals studied commonly have ailments associated with the disease.
Researchers believe earlier stages of CTE manifest in behavioral and mood symptoms — including impulsivity and anxiety — and more advanced stages can mirror symptoms often attributed to dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
There were 26 schools that had at least three CTE cases: Georgia (9), Michigan State (8), Auburn (5), Iowa (5), Ohio State (5), Purdue (5), South Carolina (5), USC (5), Wisconsin (5), Alabama (4) Arizona State (4), Arkansas (4), Boston College (4), Colorado State (4), Kansas State (4), Michigan (4). Notre Dame (4), San Diego State (4), Texas (4), UCLA (4), Washington (4), Cornell (3), Nebraska (3), North Carolina (3), Ole Miss (3), Penn State (3).
Colleges with one or two CTE cases: Abilene Christian, Baylor, Bucknell, Cal Poly, Cal State, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, California Berkeley, Clemson, College of the Pacific, Colgate, Colorado, Compton Junior College, Dartmouth, Drexel, Duke, Elmhurst, Emory and Henry College, Emporia State, Ferris State, George Washington, Georgetown, Georgia Institute of Technology, Gettysburg, Grambling State, Grand Valley State, Hampden-Sydney College, Harding, Harvard, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Howard Payne, Howard, Indiana, Jacksonville State, Kansas, Kent State, Lakeland College, Long Beach City College, Miami University of Ohio, Mississippi State, Missouri Southern, Montana Tech, New Mexico State, North Carolina A&T, Northern Colorado, Northwestern State, Northwestern, Oregon State, Otterbein, Pittsburgh State, Prairie View A&M, Presbyterian College, Rice, Rutgers, Saginaw Valley State, San Jose State, Snow College, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, South Dakota State, Southeast Missouri State, Southern Connecticut, Southern Methodist, Southern, St. Johns, St. Leo University, Stanford, Syracuse, Temple, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Texas A&M, Texas Southern, The Citadel, Trinity, Tulane, U.S. Naval Academy, Arizona, University of British Columbia, Charleston, Cincinnati, UConn, Houston, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Manitoba, Maryland, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, Mizzou, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, UPenn, Pitt, Richmond, University of San Francisco, Tennessee, UTEP, University of the Pacific, Utah, Virginia, Oregon, Upper Iowa University, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Villanova, Virginia Military Institute, Wake Forest, Washington State, West Chester University, West Point, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Whitworth, William and Mary, Wittenberg, and Yale.
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