Hits to the Head, Not Concussions, Cause CTE, Study Finds

Hits to the head, not concussions, cause Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), according to new research from Boston University. The study published in the journal Brain, has the best scientific evidence to date that proves repetitive hits to the head are not only dangerous for athletes, but are linked to CTE.

Researchers analyzed brains from teenagers with recent head injuries and used mice to recreate head trauma to find out more about the origins of CTE and its relationship to traumatic brain injuries, concussions and subconcussive head injuries. The study shows early CTE may be the result of damaged blood vessels that become leaky in the brain, causing blood proteins to spill into brain tissue and trigger brain inflammation.

Researchers say the results may explain why about 20 percent of athletes with CTE never suffered a diagnosed concussion.