Scientists have made new discoveries about the traumatic head injuries sustained by football players, including Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who will play in the Super Bowl this Sunday. Just one concussion can lead to dementia-like symptoms years later and multiple incidents can bring about severe brain damage and perhaps even drug addiction and suicide.

Los Angeles Times:

Researchers said a biopsy of the brain of nine-year NFL veteran Tom McHale, who died last May of a drug overdose at age 45, showed that he suffered from a severe degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It was caused by repeated concussions.

The biopsy was the sixth out of six performed on deceased NFL players between the ages of 25 and 50 that showed evidence of such severe damage. All six men suffered emotional and behavioral problems after their playing days were over, often culminating in erratic behavior, drug abuse and suicide or overdose.

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