About CTE — (Heads Up! CTE)

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Heads Up! CTE

What is CTE?

Dec 29, 2013

  • CTE :: Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
  • 1928 :: First identified as ‘Punch Drunk Syndrome’ in boxers
  • 1996 :: First documented in the medical literature as CTE
  • Being described as the only preventable form of Dementia
  • Studies are finding approximately 6 out of 10 individuals who experience head injuries develop depression
  • Direct result of repeated head trauma including concussions
  • Creates build-up of an abnormal protein called Tau that causes degeneration/ decay of the brain

Who does CTE affect in athletics? 

  • Approximately 1.6-3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions are estimated to occur annually in the United States
  • Athletes at all levels of competition frequently suffer cerebral concussions.
  • Football is responsible for more than 250,000 head injuries in the United States.  In any given season 10 percent of all college and 20 percent of all high school players sustain brain injuries.
  • High school players also have a three-fold higher risk of getting a second concussion once they have had one.
  • In the NFL, retired athletes have a 37 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease than men in the general population.
  • Over 60 percent of NFL athletes have sustained at least one concussion and approximately one-quarter has had three.
  • Of the 51 confirmed cases of CTE as of 2009, 90% of the cases were athletes (Source and additional quick facts about CTE)

“It’s not as simple as how many concussions someone’s had — it’s total brain trauma.  Linemen who’ve had almost no concussions have the majority of cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, because on every play they get their brains rattled, trying to block with their head.”  Robert Cantu, MD, co-director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and clinical professor of neurosurgery at Boston University School of Medicine and co-director of the Neurological Sports Injury Center at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a shift in behavior, mood, or memory and you know there is a history of head injury from sports, accidents, military duty, or other trauma please learn as much as you can about CTE.  CTE is a diagnosis of exception, meaning, medical professionals often eliminate all other ‘mainstream’ diagnoses BEFORE going down the path of CTE.   CTE is not the result of a neurotransmitter/brain chemistry imbalance like depression, bipolar, or schizophrenia.  CTE is the result of brain degeneration/damage much like Dementia/Alzheimer’s.  Drugs that affect the brain chemistry like anti-depressants may cause more harm than good.