Scientists in Australia have diagnosed the world’s first case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, in a professional female athlete, with implications for millions of girls and women who play contact sport.
Heather Anderson, an Australian Football League (AFL) player, was found to have low-stage CTE during an autopsy by scientists at the Australian Sports Brain Bank, whose peer-reviewed findings were published last week in the medical journal Acta Neuropathologica.
CTE is a neurodegenerative disease that can occur after repeated traumatic brain injuries or hits to the head, with or without a concussion, and to date it has only been diagnosed in professional male athletes.
Anderson started playing football when she was five years old and went on to play contact sport for 18 years across two codes – AFL and rugby league – before her death by suicide at 28 last November, according to the paper.(cnn.com)