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Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) - Research Study By Pavan S, Ellicot City, Maryland

Updated: May 24, 2020

Pavan, a sophomore from Maryland is researching Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a disease that is notorious in retired football players who have suffered many concussions throughout their playing careers. Concussions occur when the brain comes into contact with the skull, causing excruciating pain to the victim. Pavan became interested in researching this topic because he is a huge fan of the National Football League (NFL). He always see really brutal hits every single week, the most brutal being Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict hitting Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown in the head and concussing him. He has also heard about players, namely Junior Seau, who have committed suicide as a result of CTE. Pavan felt like he needed to step forward and show how much of an issue this disease has truly become in football. He wanted to discover new, effective methods to help make the game safer while at the same time, being able to entertain the many people that watch the NFL’s games on a weekly basis.

Pavan’s ultimate goal with this topic is to hopefully uncover solutions that can be used to limit the amount of concussions that players suffer. Too long has this issue been lurking in the shadows and left to rot. The NFL has already begun to take measures towards making the game safer for those partaking in it through penalizing defensive players for hitting the opposing player too hard, penalizing defenders for late hits on a player once they are out of bounds or a quarterback who has already gotten rid of the ball. The NFL has developed the new VICIS ZERO1 helmet to help replace the outdated Air Schutt Advantage helmet. The Air Schutt Advantage helmet’s primary goal was to prevent skull fracture. It never really had anti-concussion measures. The VICIS ZERO1 helmet, on the other hand, has springs within its shell to absorb some of the hit’s force. That way, the force of the hit will not get to the player’s brain and essentially toss the brain all over the place. Pava’s goal is to build upon these measures and make new discoveries in what causes concussions within NFL players, and look into how we can help limit the little things that lead to concussions. There is still much to be learned regarding this topic, and he intends to build upon what is learned in order to uncover unknown information that will help in the war against CTE.

This issue is something that should be taken seriously because football players risk suffering a life changing injury every snap that they take on an NFL field. Junior Seau suffered many concussions throughout his life entertaining NFL fans and died thanks to CTE. These guys literally risk their lives to entertain us, and some of them die because of it. It is finally time to step up and answer the questions that have been asked about concussions for decades on end, yet have never been fully answered. NFL football is one of the most popular things in all of America, and it cannot be tarnished by people facing the dangerous reprocussions from playing in the NFL such as depression, mood swings, and suicide thanks to CTE.

Pavan’s ambition in the end is to take this information to the National Football League (NFL) and present my findings to them. He has observed their many efforts in trying to soften the blow of concussions on players. He wants to better understand how the concussion protocol in the NFL works so that he can help amend the flaws within it. With a fixed and improved protocol, players who sustain concussions will be safer in the future. With the findings, he would also love to find how the little things in the protective gear players wear (namely helmets) can be improved. Looking into a VCIS ZERO1 helmet in detail can allow Pavan to understand why it is such an improvement over the obsolete Air Schutt Advantage and how the new technology used in the VCIS can be improved to better prevent against concussions.


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