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Researchers Find Brain Disease In 87 Out Of 91 Former NFL Players Tested

New research from the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University found 96 percent of deceased NFL players' brains examined had CTE, PBS Frontline reports.

CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a disease synonymous with the discourse surrounding head injuries in football and their impacts on players' lives. CTE is believed to be caused by constant trauma suffered by the head, and the disease can cause memory loss, depression and dementia.

EXCLUSIVE: 87 deceased NFL players test positive for the brain disease CTE, @jbrezlow reports — FRONTLINE (@frontlinepbs) September 18, 2015

The same researchers who discovered this frightening statistic studied the 91 former NFL players' brains as part of wider research, which studied 165 former football players in total.

Of the 165 individuals who played professionally, semi-professionally, in college or in high school, 131 had CTE.

What's important to note is CTE is a condition that can only be fully determined after a person's death, although researchers look for signs of the disease in players who are still alive.

That means of the players the VA and Boston University studied, many of them donated their brains to the general study of the disease because they suspected they had the disease before they died.

Meanwhile, the NFL did not shy away from today's particular report.

On the research, a league spokesman commented,

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 recorded a 35 percent decrease in concussions over the past two seasons, according to its internal health report.

Citations: New: 87 Deceased NFL Players Test Positive for Brain Disease (Frontline)