Can football be played safely?

The long-term effects of football-based concussions aren’t only for the professionals anymore. Out of 202 brains of deceased football players studied, CTE was diagnosed in 177 of them, a number that includes NFL, college and even high school athletes.

According to the Associated Press, “It’s the largest update on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a brain disease linked with repeated head blows.”

CTE still comes with question marks. Not everyone who gets repeatedly hit in the head seems to be affected, for example, which raises the question of whether it’s a matter of skull density or simply that some brains are tougher than others. What this underscores, though, is that we’re just beginning to understand the brain and how the hits we take affect it over the course of a lifetime. The organ we need and value most, the seat of our consciousness, is a thing we’re only beginning to fully value. As we come into that consciousness, protecting our heads will be a priority of the highest order.