From CTE to AI: Tackling the Challenges of Safer Football

AI technology addresses concussion and injury in American football

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition where a protein called tau builds up in the brain over time, is the result of repeated head knocks. This condition can lead to long-term consequences such as personality changes, cognitive issues, and depression. A 2017 study examined the brains of deceased former NFL players and found that 99% of them had CTE. The research showed a clear connection between years of play and the risk of developing the disease.

Neurologist Jesse Mez from Boston University emphasized this relationship and its implications for athletes. In response to the issue of head injuries in American football, the NFL has developed an artificial intelligence tool that uses technology to analyze impacts and injuries in players. By utilizing machine learning and computer vision, the tool can identify patterns and offer insights into making the sport safer for participants. This has led to rule changes aimed at reducing the risk of head injuries.

While these efforts are a step in the right direction, Mez believes that football will always involve certain risks due to its physical nature. While the NFL is making improvements, complete elimination of all risks associated with head injuries may not be possible. However, it is important for athletes and teams to continue taking steps towards safer play and protecting their health while enjoying this popular sport.

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