LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The life and legacy of athletes can be bright, but playing the game can also lead to a lifetime of hurt.
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of brain health and sports at the Cleveland Clinic, studies the brain of athletes beyond the field.
"What we are finding is that there are high rates of dementia in retired athletes and we still do not know why that's the case," Ritter said.
He says that studies have shown that retired football players develop dementia three times the normal rate.
Since July of 2009, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is researching the science of enduring pain while playing sports.
Ritter says in the last 10 years doctors have learned repetitive head injuries are enough to leave scars and cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE.
In the last 10 years, over 800 retired and active professional athletes have participated in the study at the Lou Ruvo Center.
For more information about the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health click here.