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Poll: Three-quarters of Americans see football head injuries as a major issue

The controversies surrounding professional football in the last few years have had little impact on the sport's popularity.

By Amy Wallace
Poll: Three-quarters of Americans see football head injuries as a major issue
New England Patriots wide receiver Austin Carr (84) dodges a tackle by New England Patriots safety Nat Berhe (29) on a 14-yard touchdown in the second quarter of a preseason game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on August 31, 2017. A new poll finds three-quarters of American football fans believe head injuries are a major issue in professional football. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 6 (UPI) -- A recent poll from the University of Massachusetts Lowell found that three-quarters of Americans believe head injuries in football are a major problem.

The poll of 1,000 Americans found 77 percent of respondents who consider themselves professional football fans say head injuries that cause long-term health issues for players is a major problem, 15 percent said they are a minor issue and just 6 percent did not consider the injuries a problem at all.

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The long-term effects of head injuries in professional football players have been the subject of debate and media coverage in recent years due to concerns that Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, occurs more in National Football League players.

CTE is a neurological condition that comes from multiple concussions with symptoms that mimic Alzheimer's disease.

RELATED More evidence contact sports can affect the brain

A recent study revealed that 110 out of 111 brains of former NFL players donated for research showed evidence of CTE.

The new poll showed that 83 percent of respondents believe that there is settled science that football causes brain injuries, 45 percent said it certainly causes brain injuries and 37 percent said it probably causes brain injuries. Roughly 52 percent of respondents said CTE is a serious public health issue.

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Researchers also found that 61 percent of sports fans see domestic violence, and 60 percent see general violence, as major problems committed by players.

RELATED Nearly all NFL players in study show evidence of brain disorder CTE

Still, 60 percent of Americans polled say they are fans of professional football despite the controversy.

"There is a growing ambivalence among pro football fans that puts their love of the game in conflict with their views on concussions and head injuries," Joshua Dyck, co-director of UMass Lowell's Center for Public Opinion, said in a press release.

"The survey indicates that football fans are very concerned about the problems related to concussions and half think the league has not done enough to address the issue. However, there is no evidence in this survey that NFL fans have started voting with their feet and remote controls by turning away and tuning out."

RELATED Study finds head injuries can alter genes in brain

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