Alarming CTE numbers unlikely to change NFL’s popularity

Despite a study that more than 99 percent of donated brains of former NFL players had the degenerative disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, don’t expect fans to stop watching the nation’s most popular league.

The number should have been startling, but we’ve become so immune to these findings that it grazed off us like a wayward fly.

The results should have been horrifying, but we’ve developed a certain numbness to these studies whether we like it or not.

Tuesday, an article published in the The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that, of the 111 former NFL players’ brains studied by a neuropathologist, 110 were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy. That’s more than 99 percent.

And here’s guessing less than 1 percent of NFL fans will actually care.

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CTE has become one of the football world’s chief talking points over the past few years. Well, at least it has on days like Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.

The degenerative disease linked to depression, chronic headaches and cognitive dysfunction has sparked lawsuits, movies and widespread investigations. But it certainly hasn’t done much to affect TV viewership or participation.

Sure, some might point to the NFL’s declining TV ratings last year and argue that some of America finally understands these are modern-day gladiators. But the Nielsen dips were far more likely the result of the presidential election and lack of compelling matchups.

Remember what happened when the Seahawks met the Patriots on Nov. 13? NBC drew its largest Sunday Night Football audience in five years.

Youth participation hasn’t plunged, either. In 2015, the same year Will Smith starred in “Concussion,” 1.23 million kids ages 6-12 played tackle football — up from 1.216 million the year before.

Yes, it’s worth noting that the uptick in youth flag-football participation was much…

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