January 30, 2024

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, commonly referred to as “CTE,” is a pathological diagnosis that has been found on autopsy in athletes, veterans, and others with histories of repeated brain traumas.

Some reported experienced by people eventually diagnosed with CTE include difficulty with impulse control, aggression, depression, irritability, paranoia, anxiety, and difficulty with memory and sleep. It is important to remember that these symptoms are common and can be caused by many other things that may be treatable.

There is still debate about how common CTE actually is, and there is currently no way to diagnose CTE in a living person. One concussion in the absence of other brain trauma has never been seen to cause CTE, and, while the risk factors for developing CTE remain unclear, it is proposed that repetitive head/brain trauma is of greater concern.

Causes of CTE

Evidence suggests that repeated or recurrent blows to the head can increase the risk of developing CTE. However, most people with concussion will not develop CTE. Exact causes are not fully understood and are still being researched.

When to Get Medical Advice

If you have sustained a blow to the head or body that resulted in a concussion (also a traumatic brain injury), you should seek medical attention. You may experience issues with memory, mood swings, confusion, and difficulty thinking. If you are worried about any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to consult with your physician.

It is important to note that there currently is no test to diagnose CTE. Most athletes, veterans, or people with a history of repeated concussions, will not develop CTE. However, if you are experiencing long lasting symptoms of after a brain injury or head trauma, you should always seek medical attention.

Prevention of CTE

Brain injury is difficult to predict or avoid, however prevention is key to reducing the risk.

  • Always wear protective gear, use proper technique, and practice good sportsmanship
  • All athletes should be supervised at all times by a professional who is trained to screen for signs and symptoms of concussion
  • Follow concussion protocol and listen to the advice of your concussion management team
  • Stay up to date with the latest information about concussion diagnosis and management
  • Seek medical advice immediately if a concussion or brain injury is suspected