The Madeleine Brand Show for April 12, 2011

Early stages of degenerative brain disease found in high school football players

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Wide receiver Terry Hawthorne #6 of the black team has a pass knocked away by cornerback Janzen Jackson #7 of the white team in the All America Under Armour Football Game at Florida Citrus Bowl on January 4, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. High school players are selected from around the country to play in this event.

Football has become more than a friday night ritual for many high schools across the country. The players train year round, and as a result they're bigger, faster, and hit harder than ever. There's been an increasing concern of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in some high school players brains, as such damage had only been previously found in NFL players. In a documentary that premiers on Frontline tonight, Producer Rachel Dretzin chronicles Americas love for football and brings to light the fact that it could lead to major medical issues for young athletes.

CTE has been linked to dimentia, later in life, as well as suicidal tendencies and depression. One of the most shocking recent discoveries is that football players don't have to suffer concussions to begin to develop CTE.

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