“The Brain Bank is the world’s largest collection of athlete brains. Since its inception in 2008, the bank has documented over 50 cases of CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy]. Much of that work is in the hands Dr. Ann McKee, the bank’s co-director and neuropathologist. She actually dissects the brain to track the trauma in the brain, and what she’s finding in the brains of some players in their 40s and 50s is astonishing.
‘You expect a pristine brain. I saw a brain that was riddled with tau proteins. I was stunned at how similar that brain was to the boxers who lived into their 70s,’ she said. Tau proteins are the same type of proteins found in brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
But to see the same type of damage in 17-year-old Nathan Stiles’ brain was something that surprised even McKee. It’s the youngest case she’s documented, and for her, a call to action. ‘It tells you that we’ve really got to protect our kids,’ she said. ‘It’s not just car seats and seatbelts, but it’s making sure that when they go out to play sports that we take proper precaution and we give them proper advice.'”
–Nadia Kounang. “Brain Bank Examines Athletes’ Hard Hits.” CNN Jan. 27, 2012. Web.