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traumatic brain injuriesChronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) has received much publicity lately due to studies linking it to repeated concussions of players in the National Football League (NFL).  Over 4,500 retired players, or families of retired players, are suing the NFL for covering up the potential dangers of head injuries while playing football.  One of the most publicized diagnoses of CTE came after the death of Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau.

A degenerative disease of the brain, CTE is typically found in football players, boxers, and other individuals with a history of concussions and repetitive brain trauma.  Such trauma creates progressive degeneration of tissue within the brain.  This degeneration can be the source of symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and even dementia.

Unfortunately, CTE takes several years to develop, so recognizing symptoms and connecting them to a diagnosis of CTE can be more difficult than diagnosing most injuries.  Additionally, CTE cannot objectively be identified in the brain until after death.  To date, an autopsy is the only definitive way to reveal whether the known brain changes are present.  So, if you believe you are suffering from CTE, how do you find out for sure?

Symptoms may include memory problems, suicidal thoughts, mood changes, trouble speaking, and vision problems.  It is important you see a doctor right away if you are suffering from these symptoms after suffering repeated blows to the head in any sport such as football. Repetitive blows to the head can cause life-altering side effects.  If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury or believe you may have CTE, treatment can be vital to your future.  The impact of long-term effects may be reduced through timely diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment.