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October 9, 2009 — A new National Football League (NFL) study has identified a higher rate of dementia among retired players than in the general population. The preliminary study demonstrates more cognitive impairment among not just elderly retirees but also those younger than 50 years.

The study, commissioned by the NFL Player Care Foundation, has not been peer reviewed, and investigators are quick to point to its limitations. In the survey of more than 1000 retired players, researchers collected information by telephone interview and explored a range of issues on the health and well-being of professional athletes.
Linebacker Lofa Tatupu is donating his brain for research.

"The league wanted to learn more about retired football players," said lead investigator David Weir, PhD, from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor during an interview. "This will help the organization respond to the needs of retired players," he added.

Last week, the NFL players association announced it is launching a concussion and traumatic brain injury committee. The group will explore the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of concussions and traumatic brain injury in active players and will evaluate the long-term cumulative effects of injuries.

"This committee was designed to bring both independence and expertise to the ongoing analysis of serious head injuries so we can better protect our players," the association's executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a news release.

The NFL declined Medscape Neurology's requests for an interview.

This issue made headlines in September when 3 NFL players announced they will donate their brains after death for research. The Boston University Medical School, in Massachusetts, has added center Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens, linebacker Lofa Tatupu for the Seattle Seahawks, and receiver Sean Morey of the Arizona Cardinals to a growing list of professional athletes interested in the long-term effects of repeated concussions.

Full Article: NFL Study Finds More Dementia Among Retired Football Players by Allison Gandey October 09, 2009
Found on Medscape Medical News