New Football Helmets Take a Page From Nuclear-Plant Safety – Facts So Romantic

These photos show the difference between a healthy brain (left) and one with CTE (right). The tau proteins in all the samples were stained and appear brown.BU CTE Center

In 2012, Tim Shaw was still living the rarefied, enviable life of an NFL player. He’d played in college, in Penn State’s storied program, then got drafted, and did his most productive work with the Tennessee Titans, becoming their special-teams captain in 2011 and 2012. But around the end of the year, his body started acting strangely: His muscles twitched, his balance was off. The next year, at age 29, he got cut, having played the last football of his life.

Last month Shaw announced the source of his problems to the world in a poignant version of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge: He had been diagnosed with ALS. In his video, he was asking people to support research on the disease that ended his NFL career and will likely end his life within the next several years.

Over the past few years, football’s brain-injury problem has gotten as big as a set of 350-pound linemen. The most visible issue is CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain…
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