When it comes to head injuries, what you don’t know and what you can’t see could hurt you or your loved one. Severe blows to the head can inflict significant trauma on your brain that can have lifelong impacts on your cognitive abilities. Your memory and mood can also be affected.

As the medical community’s understanding of traumatic brain injuries continues to develop, researchers are paying more attention to the impact that smaller head injuries can have as well. As a result, they are becoming more familiar with CTE.

Overview of CTE and CTE Research

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative condition of the brain. Over time, the condition becomes worse and has more significant effects. However, there is still much that the medical community doesn’t know about CTE. It is unknown, for example, how many people it actually affects.

CTE is believed to be caused by repeated, minor blows to the head. Nobody knows for sure how many blows to the head over what period of time must occur before CTE develops. It’s also unclear what amount of force is necessary before the risk of CTE increases.

Absence of CTE Cases Makes Research Difficult

The CDC reports that approximately 1.5 million people in America suffer a traumatic brain injury every year. Yet the vast majority of these individuals will never develop CTE. In 2022, The New York Times found that 320 former NFL players studied had CTE.

Getting an accurate picture of what percentage of the population suffers from CTE is challenging. It’s rare for doctors to be able to make a CTE diagnosis while the patient is still alive. In nearly every case, doctors diagnose CTE only after a patient’s death.

Symptoms of CTE Are Not Well Understood

Compounding the difficulty in diagnosing CTE is the lack of symptoms that indicate the presence of CTE. Doctors believe that CTE can impair a person’s cognitive abilities, such as their ability to make plans or organize thoughts and tasks. They may also experience trouble with their memory.

Behavioral symptoms might also suggest the presence of CTE. These include sudden mood swings, aggression, and depression. A person who suffers from CTE may also turn to illicit substances as a means of coping with their symptoms and may also have thoughts of suicide.

As is true with some traumatic brain injury symptoms, there is not an immediate onset of CTE symptoms. Instead, they are more likely to appear gradually as the disease spreads throughout the brain. This can make it even more challenging to identify CTE in its early stages.

Preventing CTE

What is known about CTE is that its development is connected to repeated blunt force trauma to the head over a sustained period of time. It has been primarily observed in NFL players and other athletes, but military members may also be at risk.

If you or a loved one is involved in contact sports, or if your children play tackle football, soccer, or hockey, you should take precautions to prevent head injuries. 

Make sure their helmets are approved, fit properly, and are always worn when playing. Even then, encourage your child and other children to avoid head contact or direct head blows.

In the workplace, you should also take precautions to avoid head injuries. If you are on a construction site, for example, wear an appropriate hard hat at all times. Avoid situations that unnecessarily place you at risk of head trauma.

Contact the Baltimore Personal Injury Law Firm of WGK Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help

For more information, contact the Baltimore personal injury law firm of WGK Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation.

WGK Personal Injury Lawyers
14 W Madison St, Baltimore, MD 21201, United States
(410) 837-2144

WGK Personal Injury Lawyers – Dundalk Office
7329 Holabird Ave Suite 3, Dundalk, MD 21222
(410) 970-3080