Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

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Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and Brain Injuries in Football Players

 In recent years, chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been linked to blows to the head sustained by football players and other athletes. The condition was previously experienced by boxers who suffered multiple blows to the head.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive degenerative disorder. It affects the brains of people who suffer multiple concussions.

CTE is extremely serious and irreversible. Football players diagnosed with the disease have committed suicide. Although most of the headlines relating to CTE concern professional football players, it has been diagnosed in athletes across a wide range of sport including high school and college students.

What is the Cause of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Little is known about CTE and post-mortem research is continuing on the brains of athletes who were diagnosed with it.

The Mayo Clinic states CTE is a rare and acute condition. It has been found in the brains of people who played contact sports, such as football, rugby and soccer as well as other sports.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a very controversial condition that is still not well-understood. Researchers do not yet know the frequency of this disease in the population. There is no known cure for this degenerative disease.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy?

Some of the possible signs and symptoms of CTE may include:

·       Cognitive difficulties in thinking;

·       Impulsive behavior;

·       Apathy and depression;

·       Short-term memory loss;

·       Issues with carrying out basic tasks;

·       Substance and alcohol abuse;

·       Emotional instability;

·       Suicidal behavior and thoughts.

·       Dementia;

·       Irritability and aggression;

·       Speech and language difficulties;

·       Impairment of motor skills such as walking, tremor and a loss of muscle movement;

·       Trouble swallowing (dysphagia);

·       Vision and focusing problems.

What is the Link Between a Concussion and CTE?

Repetitive blows to the head are likely to be the cause of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Football players have been the focus of most CTE studies because of a series of high profile suicides.

A recent study by Boston University researcher Dr. Ann McKee examined the brains of 202 deceased football players. The researcher found that 110 of the 111 brains of former NFL players had chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It revealed college and professional football players had more severe cases of CTE than high school players.

Other at-risk athletes who suffer concussions include soccer players, ice hockey players, wrestlers, boxers and volleyball players.

CTE has also been identified in people who repeatedly bang their heads, the victims of physical abuse, and people who fail to control epilepsy. The condition is prevalent in service personnel who suffered blast injuries.

Although the link between concussions and CTE is well established, many people who sustained concussions do not go on to develop CTE.

Medical professionals believe CTE wastes away areas of the brain. It causes injuries to nerve cells that conduct electrical impulses between cells.

The Mayo Clinic states it’s possible that people who have CTE may show signs of another neurodegenerative disease. These conditions include Alzheimer's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's disease or frontotemporal dementia.

 Lawsuits Over Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and Brain Injuries in Football Players

 Virginia and other states have strict rules about concussions on the sports field. Football players or other athletes can no longer be allowed to play on without seeing a doctor. Sports bodies that flout these laws leave themselves open to a lawsuit.

In 2013, the NFL settled a lawsuit for $765 million over concussion-related brain injuries among retired players. The league agreed to compensate victims, pay for their medical exams and underwrite research. A federal judge announced the agreement after months of court-ordered mediation.

The lawsuit was brought by more than 4,500 former athletes. They claimed to be suffering from a range of conditions including depression, dementia or Alzheimer's linked to repeated blows to the head. The former players sued the league. The NFL was accused of hiding the dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back onto the field of play.

The NFL was accused of making a profit from the high impact collisions that lead to concussions among players. 

In 2017, Aaron Hernandez, a former New England Patriots player, committed suicide while serving a life sentence for murder.

 Tests on his brain after his death found he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to a Boston University study.

 The findings resulted in a federal lawsuit against both the NFL and Hernandez’s former team. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the late player’s 4-year-old daughter. The lawsuit sought $20 million in damages. It stated the conduct of the NFL and the Patriots’ conduct deprived Avielle Hernandez of the “love, affection, society and companionship of her father while he was alive.”

Talk to an Experienced Virginia Brain Injury Lawyer about CTE

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a terrible disease that deprives sufferers of any quality of life. It is linked to multiple suicides.

Attorney Stephen Smith of the Smith Law Center is an internationally recognized expert in traumatic brain injury lawsuits, with four decades of experience litigating brain injury cases. He handles lawsuits across the U.S. and the world and is often sought out by other attorneys for assistance. Call us today for a free consultation at 757.244.7000.