Researchers successfully diagnosed CTE in NFL player before death — 5 things to know

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Four years before his death, a NFL player underwent a brain scan, which indicated he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Now, his autopsy confirms that result, Chicago Tribune reports.

Here are five things to know:


1. Evanston, Ill.-based NorthShore University HealthSystem researchers reported they identified CTE via brain scans in former NFL players while they were still alive.


2. The researchers pinpointed tau, a protein present on damaged brain cells. Although researchers identified CTE presence, the researchers noted confirmation of the disease could only come with brain tissue analysis following death.


3. Julian E. Bailes, MD, NorthShore Neurological Institute surgical director and neurosurgery department chairman, reported researchers received a CTE diagnosis confirmation with one of those NFL players. After the player died, the researchers analyzed his brain tissue and found CTE present.


4. Researchers hope this diagnosis confirmation will aid in diagnosing CTE in people before death. This information could alert a NFL player of the risk of continued play.


5. The Chicago Tribune reported the assessed player was Minnesota Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill.


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