In recent years, the high profiles suicides of football players and other athletes who suffered repeated blows to the head made for shocking headlines. Many of the players took their lives after a diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE. The issue of CTE and brain injuries in Virginia athletes is a very real one.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a progressive degenerative disorder. Doctors diagnose it in the brains of players who suffer multiple concussions. The disease is irreversible. It is most prevalent among football players but is also associated with boxers, wrestlers, and others.
Doctors believe CTE wastes away areas of the brain. It injures nerves that conduct electrical impulses between cells.
Hundreds of athletes brought a lawsuit against the NFL that was settled a few years ago. The problem continues and was the subject tackled in an award-winning movie Concussion.
In 2013, the NFL settled a lawsuit brought by former players who said they suffered from concussions and other brain injuries for $765 million.
What is the Cause of CTE?
Many aspects of CTE remain a mystery. However, post-mortem studies have been conducted into the brains of athletes who suffered an untimely demise.
The Mayo Clinic points out Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a rare and very serious condition. It’s associated with players in contact sports like football, rugby, boxing, and soccer. It has even been diagnosed in baseball players.
CTE may have triggered the deaths of a number of football stars. They include Aaron Hernandez, a former New England Patriots player who committed suicide in 2017 while serving a life sentence for murder. Given the potential links between CTE and violent behavior, Hernandez’s death raises questions whether the disease may have been linked to the player’s crime.
Post-death tests of Hernandez’s brain found he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to a study at Boston University.
The deaths of players who suffered CTE raise questions about the liability of clubs, sporting bodies, and the NFL. At a local level, athletes in Virginia must leave the field immediately if they suffer a concussion. The old theory that they should play on has been exposed as potentially dangerous. Clubs, schools, and leagues that fail to follow the rules can be sued for traumatic brain injuries suffered by athletes. Not all athletes who suffer a concussion will go on to develop CTE. The research suggests people who develop this terrible disease suffered repeated blows to the head.
You should be aware of the warning signs of CTE or any other concussion in athletes.
What Are the Symptoms of CTE in Athletes?
Some of the possible signs and symptoms of the disease include:
- Suicidal thoughts:
- Alcohol and drug abuse:
- Violent behavior:
- Difficulties in comprehension;
- Impulsive behavior;
- Depression, listlessness and anxiety.
- Short-term memory loss;
- Problems carrying out basic tasks
- Emotional instability;
- Problems with speech and language;
- Difficulties walking, tremors, and a loss of muscle movement;
- Vision problems
- Issues swallowing (known as dysphagia);
What Research Has Been Carried out on the Link Between Concussions and CTE?
Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University researcher, examined the brains of more than 200 deceased football players. She found that 110 of the 111 brains of former National Football League professionals were riddled with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
The research found college and professional football players were more likely to have CTE than high school players.
CTE has been diagnosed in other high-risk groups like abuse victims or people who have unmanaged epilepsy. Former military personnel who suffered injuries from blasts in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan have been diagnosed with CTE.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people with CTE may exhibit signs of another neurodegenerative disease. These conditions include Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Attorney John Cooper of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers has represented brain injury victims across Virginia. We are concerned about the link between CTE and brain injuries in Virginia athletes. Please contact us if you or a loved one suffered a TBI at (757) 231-6443 to request a free consultation.