Unraveling CTE: How AI and Rule Changes are Helping to Make Football Safer

Is AI technology the answer to addressing concussions and injuries in American football?

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative condition that can have long-term consequences on the brain. It is characterized by the gradual accumulation of tau protein in the brain, and can lead to changes in personality, cognitive issues, and depression years after head trauma has occurred. Repeated head knocks, such as those experienced in sports like boxing and American football, are known to increase the risk of developing this condition.

A 2017 study on 111 brains of former National Football League (NFL) players revealed that 99% of them had CTE. The study confirmed that the number of years a player has been in the sport is directly linked to their risk of developing the disease. Jesse Mez, a neurologist at Boston University, emphasized the importance of understanding this relationship to prevent long-term consequences for athletes.

To reduce injuries among football players, the NFL has implemented an artificial intelligence tool that analyzes TV imagery and data from sensors embedded in helmets, mouth guards, and shoulder pads. The tool uses machine learning and computer vision technology to identify impacts and injuries during games, ultimately providing insights to make the sport safer. The NFL has also made rule changes aimed at minimizing the risk of head injuries for players.

While these measures are a step in

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