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What Is CTE?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Brain Injuries

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a name for a condition that affects the brain after repeated traumatic incidents.

Although symptoms can lead to a suspected diagnosis of CTE, the condition can only be definitively diagnosed with an autopsy. Hence, many individuals have suffered from the disease without knowledge of having CTE and without treatment.

Understanding CTE and Its Consequences

CTE is progressive and can, unfortunately, lead to death. It is characterized by increasing cognitive difficulties and deficits. Individuals who contract the condition are also likely to develop dementia. Because there is no cure for CTE, treatment is limited to addressing the cognitive deficits caused by the condition.

Symptoms of CTE

CTE is a disease that typically does not manifest symptoms early on. In fact, it is not until years of trauma that symptoms of the condition begin to present themselves in a person’s life.

When symptoms do appear, they first tend to involve:

  • Changes in mood, depression, and suicidal thoughts
  • Personality changes
  • Unexplained changes in behavior and activities

As the condition develops, the above-listed symptoms will typically worsen, and the following symptoms will begin to appear:

  • Short-term memory problems
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Problems organizing and planning
  • Motion and movement problems

It is important to remember that CTE often does not produce symptoms in the early stages. So those who regularly experience head trauma should protect their heads as much as possible and not judge a lack of symptoms as a clean bill of health.

Causes of CTE

CTE is caused primarily by repetitive trauma to the head. These repeat traumas lead to traumatic brain injuries that can hamper an individual’s ability to exist in the world. However, CTE does not come about after a few, or even many, incidences of head trauma.

Instead, CTE comes about after hundreds or even thousands of traumatic incidents. Hence, it is common to see suspected cases of CTE in those jobs and activities where head impacts are common.

Military Service

Military personnel are often exposed to concussive events during weapons training and testing. Over time, the trauma caused by these concussive events can have a cumulative effect on the brain and lead to CTE and other degenerative diseases.


Contact sports are characterized by frequent traumatic events. Whether it’s head punches from boxing or tackles in football, athletes in contact sports have a high risk of experiencing the head trauma that leads to CTE.

Interpersonal Violence

Sadly, repeated head trauma is common in many interpersonal relationships. Over time, these attacks can lead to CTE and other debilitating conditions.

Depending on the cause of your CTE, you may be entitled to compensation. If you believe you may have the condition, meet with a lawyer to explore your options.

How Can You Avoid CTE?

The easiest way to avoid CTE is to refrain from activities that involve head trauma. If this is not possible, you should take all reasonable precautions to protect your head from trauma. For example, if you are a boxer, you should always use proper headgear and only box against an opponent with the proper gloves.

If you are in a job that uses explosives or in the military, never skip performing proper safety protocols and never cut corners regarding safety.

More research is being conducted on CTE, but many questions still remain. What is known for sure is that with the proper education and training, the incidences of CTE can go down quite drastically. And this means a higher quality of life for many.

Contact the Naperville Personal Injury Law Firm Of the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid for Help Today

If you’ve been injured in a personal injury, please call the Law Offices of Mathys & Schneid for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.