Former football players from over 100 colleges, including the University of Texas, have now been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the Concussion Legacy Foundation announced Wednesday.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease that researchers believe is caused by brain trauma. The data released Wednesday was collected by the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, a collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston University and the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
The Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten, Pac 12 and Southeastern Conference (SEC) each have at least one school in the conference with three or more confirmed cases of CTE. The 15 schools with at least three cases of CTE have a combined total of 64 national championships.
The University of Texas has three confirmed cases of CTE. It is the only school in Texas with three or more confirmed cases.
Former University of Texas defensive tackle Greg Ploetz is one of the cases represented in the data. He was part of UT's 1969 national championship team. Ploetz died of complications of dementia in May 2015 at the age of 66. His niece created a short film, "Art of Darkness: A Story of CTE," detailing his struggle with CTE and the impact on his family.
Four out of the ten schools in the Big 12 have at least three confirmed cases of CTE, making up a total of eight CTE cases in the conference. It's the lowest number of any of the Power 5 conferences.
“This information is being released to raise awareness that CTE is not just an issue for professional football players,” said Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. “The data should not be interpreted to say that players from these schools are at greater risk than other college players. Instead, the data shows the widespread reach of this disease, and the commitment by the alumni and their families of these schools to support CTE research by participating in brain donation.”
The VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank is the largest sports concussion and CTE repository in the world with over 375 donated brains and over 220 cases confirmed. For more information, click here.