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Both Michelle Akers (photo) and Brandi Chastain have reported memory loss to some extent, while Akers says she has been fighting migraine for years

While the US national women's team is preparing for a confrontation with host country France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Friday, two of the team's former stars help investigate the debilitating brain cancer chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

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Teammates in the World Cup-winning American teams in 1991 and 1999, Michelle Akers and Brandi Chastain spoke with CBS This morning about the long-term study, which focuses on female ex-football players and the possible cognitive effects of headers and collisions.

Often associated with football, hockey and boxing, CTE is caused by repeated hits on the head and is connected to everything from memory loss and headache to depression, dementia and even suicide.

Both Akers and Chastain have reported memory loss to some extent, while Akers says she has been fighting migraine for years.

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Both Michelle Akers (photo) and Brandi Chastain have reported memory loss to some extent, while Akers says she has been fighting migraine for years

Teammates in the World Cup-winning American teams in 1991 and 1999, Michelle Akers and Brandi Chastain (photo) spoke with CBS This Morning about the long-term study, which focuses on former female football players and the possible cognitive effects of headers and collisions.

Teammates in the World Cup-winning American teams in 1991 and 1999, Michelle Akers and Brandi Chastain (photo) spoke with CBS This Morning about the long-term study, which focuses on former female football players and the possible cognitive effects of headers and collisions.

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Teammates in the World Cup-winning American teams in 1991 and 1999, Michelle Akers (left) and Brandi Chastain (right) spoke with CBS about the long-term study, which focuses on former female football players and the possible cognitive effects of headers and collisions

Akers estimates that she has endured around 50 headers on game days

Akers estimates that she has endured around 50 headers on game days

Chastain said she was proud to be the player who always managed to hit the ball: & # 39; Oh, I drove the ball a lot ... And very proud and very determined and very aggressive & # 39 ;

Chastain said she was proud to be the player who always managed to hit the ball: & # 39; Oh, I drove the ball a lot ... And very proud and very determined and very aggressive & # 39 ;

Akers (left, against China, in the 1999 World Cup Final) estimated that she endured around 50 headers on game days. Chastain (against Canada in 2000) said she was proud to be the player who always managed to hit the ball: "Oh, I drove the ball a lot … And very proud and so determined and very aggressive "

& # 39; I was the one, the target. So I won every punt at the keepers … & said Akers, a former midfielder. & # 39; As for the headers … usually a game. & # 39;

Chastain, who won the winning penalty against China in the 1999 final in the 1999 final, had a similar attitude to headballs during her career: & # 39; Oh, I drove a lot of the ball … And very proud so and very determined and very aggressive. & # 39;

Now, 20 years later, both players want to know if those head balls have contributed to cognitive problems.

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& # 39; I can't remember the details of a place we've been to … or someone's last name, & # 39; said Chastain. & # 39; But then my friends seem to reassure me that they too experience that … So I think, "Okay, maybe it's okay." & # 39;

& # 39; One of the difficulties is, & # 39; how do you determine what is not normal and what is? & # 39 ;, Early Akers.

Akers explained that she began to suspect that there might be a problem after watching a recent documentary about British football legend Alan Shearer, who suspected he had early signs of CTE. (A definitive diagnosis can only be made by an autopsy)

& # 39; I looked at it and went & # 39; oh my god & # 39; … & # 39; said Akers. & # 39; That could be me … and it stopped me in my track. & # 39;

The study, led by Robert Stern, professor of neurology at the University of Boston, will follow 20 high-level former female football players who are now older than 40. All former players will receive baseline tests with an MRI and a cognitive evaluation. .

Akers began to suspect that there might be a problem after watching a recent documentary about British football legend Alan Shearer (left), who suspected he had early signs of CTE
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Akers began to suspect that there might be a problem after watching a recent documentary about British football legend Alan Shearer (left), who suspected he had early signs of CTE

Akers began to suspect that there might be a problem after watching a recent documentary about British football legend Alan Shearer (left), who suspected he had early signs of CTE

Football is clearly not known for violent clashes such as football and hockey, but Stern said his fears are repeated sub-concussive trauma – the friendly soccer players endure years of exercise balls.

& # 39; I am afraid that this game played by hundreds of millions of people around the world can currently be played in a way that could lead to a later brain disease, & # 39; said Stern. & # 39; That's pretty scary. & # 39;

Chastain, 50, now serves as a youth soccer coach, but she refuses to subject her players to unnecessary headers – especially those of a long goalkeeper's goalkeeper.

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& # 39; I definitely did 180 ° about that, & # 39; she said, adding: & # 39; Five-story conductive balls, no, that won't happen. We don't do that.

& # 39; We can no longer ignore this & # 39 ;, she added. & # 39; It's not something we can just say, & # 39; okay it out. & # 39; it's not that. & # 39;

Brandi Chastain celebrated her World Cup-winning penalty against China in 1999 by tearing off her sweater and sliding across the Rose Bowl turf

Brandi Chastain celebrated her World Cup-winning penalty against China in 1999 by tearing off her sweater and sliding across the Rose Bowl turf

Brandi Chastain celebrated her World Cup-winning penalty against China in 1999 by tearing off her sweater and sliding across the Rose Bowl turf

Akers admitted that if she could go back, she would not lead such a million balls. & # 39;

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The 53-year-old mother does not know whether she has CTE at an early stage or not, but she does not hope passively that everything will be fine.

& # 39; As I get older, & # 39; said Akers, & I want to have a great life. I intend that … And if that's not the case, then I have to prepare. & # 39;

FIFA, the world football association, claims it has never found any evidence that headers can lead to cognitive problems.

& # 39; To the best of our knowledge, there is currently no real evidence of the negative effect of headers or other sub-concussive blows, & # 39; read a FIFA statement from 2017.

WHAT IS CTE?

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated hits on the head.

Over time, these hard consequences result in confusion, depression, and ultimately dementia.

There have been several retired football players who have put forward brain diseases.

They attribute their fitness to football and the hits they have made.

More than 1800 former athletes and military veterans have promised to donate their brains to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for CTE research.

CTE was usually associated with boxing before former NFL players began to disclose their conditions.

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Several notable players who committed suicide were posthumously diagnosed with the disease, such as Junior Seau and Aaron Hernandez.

& # 39; If you don't want to risk life, you shouldn't drive a car, you shouldn't go skiing, you shouldn't practice sport, & # 39 ;, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said to The Associated Press.

Stern emphasizes that some MRI examinations have shown subtle brain damage related to headballs.

At least four members of the World Cup-winning squadron of England in 1966 developed dementia or memory loss.

In Great Britain, concerns about the effects of head injury have increased following a campaign by the family of the former English striker Jeff Astle, whose death at the age of 59 in 2002 was attributed to the repeated sending of heavy leather balls .

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A study released on Thursday found CTE in the brains of two former Australian rugby competition players.

Researchers and clinicians from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, New South Wales Health and the Brain and Mind Center at the University of Sydney state that they have made the discovery in two donated middle-aged brain ex-professionals who play over 150 National Rugby League games played for many years. The identity of the athletes was treated confidentially.

The study, published in the international journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications on Thursday, says the discovery is the first time that chronic traumatic encephalopathy – or CTE – has been identified in an NRL athlete.

The study, led by Robert Stern, professor of neurology at Boston University (photo), follows 20 high-level former football players for women now over 40. All former players receive baseline tests with an MRI and a cognitive test. Evaluation

The study, led by Robert Stern, professor of neurology at Boston University (photo), follows 20 high-level former football players for women now over 40. All former players receive baseline tests with an MRI and a cognitive test. Evaluation

The study, led by Robert Stern, professor of neurology at Boston University (photo), follows 20 high-level former football players for women now over 40. All former players receive baseline tests with an MRI and a cognitive test. Evaluation

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