There is still much that remains unknown about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy “CTE”, a disease which can take a catastrophic toll on combative sport and contact sport athletes.
What researchers do know, however, is that mileage matters and that both repeated concussive and sub-concussive hits can lead to the disease. How many hits are too many? Nobody knows but the less trauma the better.
To this end the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “CDC” recently published a fact sheet with two key findings. The first is that not just concussions but repeated sub-concussive trauma can lead to CTE. Second the CDC notes that mileage matters finding “the greatest risk factor for CTE is the number of years of exposure to repeated head or brain injuries (subconcussions in particular)”.
If you are an athlete choosing to participate in combative sports this “greatest risk factor” should be taken into account when you map out your career and how you train. Trainers should take this reality into account as well. Regulators should also be aware of the reality of ‘mileage’ when making licencing decisions later in an athlete’s career.
The full CDC fact sheet can be found here: CDC-CTE-ProvidersFactSheet-508 (1)