Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy - A Danger for Many Athletes
Contact is a part of most sports. Sometimes, that contact is rather violent
and jolting, and the player can't simply just "walk it off"
as they've been told to do by coaches for decades. Being hit too hard
and too often can take a serious toll on the body, and it can be particularly
damaging to the brain.
We've known that boxers could face serious health problems like Chronic
Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), but it may not be so obvious that quite
a few other athletes are in danger as well, particularly football players
and others who are playing contact sports. CTE is a serious condition.
What is CTE?
CTE is the term used to describe the degeneration of brain function in
those suffering from repeated head injuries and concussions. Even after
the traditional symptoms of the concussion go away, the new symptoms of
CTE can arrive. These can show up a few months or even years later. In
most cases, the symptoms show up very slowly, and the individual might
not even realize there is a problem right away.
Because the symptoms are similar to concussions, some patients might feel
that their concussion symptoms are returning. However, unlike a regular
concussion, these symptoms will not simply fade. They typically worsen,
especially when they are not treated appropriately.
Some initial signs of CTE include:
- Having trouble concentrating or trouble with their memory.
- Bouts of confusion or dizziness
- Difficulty to control emotions (becoming aggressive & violent)
The person suffering from CTE may display erratic behavior, and the aggression
can become worse. It can lead to a type of dementia, and have many symptoms
similar to Parkinson's disease. They have trouble with speech and
with walking. These symptoms are unstoppable, and they often continue
Carefully Diagnosing CTE
From a clinical perspective, it is actually difficult to diagnose CTE since
a CT scan doesn't show abnormalities or bleeding on the brain, necessarily.
It behaves very similarly to other diseases that affect the brain. In
fact, one of the only reliable ways to confirm CTE is during an autopsy.
Many who have CTE become more liable to pass away due to suicide, drug
overdose, or alcohol abuse. Deaths of prominent football players, such
as Junior Seau, have shown what a real danger CTE is for players of contact sports.
Diagnosis is difficult, and there is no way to cure someone of CTE. The
only hope right now is supportive treatments to help minimize symptoms.
Prevention is the best cure. The NFL is finally making changes to helmet styles and to the rules to
cut back on the instances of head injuries suffered by players. Younger
athletes and youth sports organizations are also taking the prevention
of head injuries more seriously than they have in the past.
Discuss a CTE case with a Sports Neurology expert!
Due to the difficulty of diagnosing CTE, it is always best to seek the
advice of a neurologist when dealing with a legal matter. As a board certified
neurologist and experienced expert witness, I, Dr. Williams, am the medical
professional you need on your side.
Find out how I can be a true asset to your team by
today for more information about my experience and knowledge in this area