In news that will likely raise the concerns about safety in the NFL even more, researchers published findings this week that 87 of 91 deceased NFL players tested were found to have evidence of the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

Researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University identified CTE in 96 percent of NFL players that they’ve examined and in 79 percent of all football players.

The disease is believed to stem from constant and repeated head trauma.

The lab reportedly found CTE in the brain tissue in 131 out of 165 individuals who, before their deaths, played football either professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school.

From PBS Frontline:

Forty percent of those who tested positive were the offensive and defensive linemen who come into contact with one another on every play of a game, according to numbers shared by the brain bank with FRONTLINE. That finding supports past research suggesting that it’s the repeat, more minor head trauma that occurs regularly in football that may pose the greatest risk to players, as opposed to just the sometimes violent collisions that cause concussions.

The NFL issued a statement to Frontline stating: “We are dedicated to making football safer and continue to take steps to protect players, including rule changes, advanced sideline technology, and expanded medical resources. We continue to make significant investments in independent research through our gifts to Boston University, the [National Institutes of Health] and other efforts to accelerate the science and understanding of these issues.”

The NFL gave a $1 million research grant to Boston University’s brain bank in 2010.

By Glenn Erby

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