Medwatch-Repeated concussions and CTE

Medwatch-Repeated concussions and CTE

(CNN) -As the National Football League and collegiate football programs face continued pressure regarding concussions, a new poll is showing that most Americans believe football teams need to do more to protect players from head injuries.

Research has shown that players who have sustained multiple concussions on the field can develop a serious degenerative brain disease later in life known as CTE.

Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Andrew Russman says the difficulty with CTE is that right now, there is no way to diagnose it in the living. He says many players are concerned about the long term impact of playing a collision sport.

"We see people who have had either multiple concussions or some concern after playing collision sports for a period of time where they're very worried they're going to develop this problem," Dr. Russman said.

The Health Day/Harris Poll shows Americans believe more steps must be taken to make football safer.

Dr. Russman says leagues have begun cutting back on practices in an effort to reduce the number of cumulative head collisions. He says the human brain was not built for repetitive collision, and that more research needs to be done to figure out a way to diagnose players with CTE while they are still alive.

"Research is going to help us to understand how to diagnose this problem in the living. I am convinced we're going to be able to diagnose it in the living. We're going to be able to identify people that are susceptible to later life problems," Dr. Russman said.

A new study, which includes researchers from Cleveland Clinic, is currently underway to try and determine a way to diagnose CTE and learn why some players get it and others do not.

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