The Australian rules football star Heather Anderson, who passed away last year, was diagnosed with C.T.E., according to an article published in Acta Neuropathologica.
The findings suggests that more C.T.E. cases will be detected in female athletes as the number of women participating in professional contact sports increases. There is an immediate need to recognise the hazards and implement measures and regulations to reduce traumatic brain injury in female contact sports given women’s heightened vulnerability to concussions.
Anderson began playing Australian rules football at the age of 5, and she now plays for the Adelaide Crows in the premier women’s league. As a result of a shoulder issue, she called it quits in 2017. Her family believes she was 28 when she committed suicide. In her professional life, she suffered from one diagnosed concussion and maybe four more that were only suspected at the time.
Her father, Brian, told 7.30 on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the news of his daughter’s illness was shocking, but not unexpected. And now that the study is out in the open, I’m trying to imagine the implications for women athletes worldwide.
Depression, memory loss, and personality changes, including violent behaviour, are all possible outcomes of chronic toxic exposure. The longer an athlete participates in a contact sport, the greater the effects get. Due to the fatal nature of the disease, Anderson’s family decided to donate her brain to the Australian Sports Brain Bank so that her illness might be studied after her passing.
Anderson had three lesions discovered in his brain. They pointed to C.T.E. in its early stages, which is to be anticipated given her youth.
Many male athletes, including as American football players Junior Seau, Ken Stabler, Frank Gifford, Mike Webster, and Andre Waters, and boxers, Australian football players, and rugby players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted of murder in 2015 and committed himself at age 27, was determined to have C.T.E. damage comparable to that of a player in his 60s.
According to the study’s authors, only a small number of female patients had been documented, and no instances had been documented among elite athletes.
Women’s rugby is one of the fastest-growing contact sports worldwide. Anderson participated in the first grand final of a women’s Australian rules league that began play in 2017.