Your brain is under attack. 6% of Americans live with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), including 80-99% of professional football players.

A brain injury from football can be devastating. But CTE is more than just a short-term head trauma. If you want to protect yourself from brain degeneration, you need the facts about CTE.

What is CTE, and who develops it? What are the symptoms of the condition? How can you get treatment for it?

Answer these questions and you can live a successful life after head injuries. Here is your quick guide.

The Basics of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

CTE is a degenerative brain disease that occurs after someone sustains repeated head traumas. Doctors are not sure why repeated blows to the head result in CTE. Mild and severe head impacts can cause CTE, though it is not clear how much trauma must occur for CTE to develop.

CTE is most famous as a condition that professional football players develop. But anyone involved in contact sports can develop CTE.

Military personnel can also develop it, as exposure to explosives and high-caliber guns can cause head trauma. Victims of domestic violence can sustain it if they are punched, struck with objects, or fall on their heads. 

There is no known cure or diagnostic plan for CTE. Most people receive a diagnosis after they die. Some people live with CTE for years, unaware that they have the condition.

Symptoms

What is clear about CTE is its symptoms. Most people experience four stages of the condition, with the condition getting worse over time. 

Stage I

CTE symptoms can take years or decades to develop. Someone may experience signs of a concussion or brain damage after a blow to the head. But someone may show no problems until their CTE develops. 

Someone may become confused or disoriented easily. They may find instructions hard to follow, especially when they don’t have the instructions in front of them. They may find it hard to pay attention to things.

Standing up or running can cause dizziness. A person may lose their balance and fall to the floor, which can make their head injury worse. 

They may experience painful headaches, especially when they are exposed to bright lights or loud sounds. Their headaches may be so severe that they cannot work.

Stage II

Someone may develop depression, despite not having mental health problems before. They may feel hopeless, sad, and weary, which can make it hard to work or attend to personal responsibilities.

However, a person may not be depressed all the time. They may experience mood swings, becoming suddenly happy or angry for no apparent reason. 

A person may lose control of their short-term memory. They may forget details in conversations that they just learned about. It may become hard for them to remember where things are, causing them to lose their keys or phone.

Some people experience language challenges, struggling to remember words or use them correctly. An individual may be aware of their language problems, so they will stop talking or socializing with others.

Stage III

Memory loss becomes more severe during stage III. Someone may forget someone’s name, even if they have known that person for years. 

Their attention issues may also become more severe. They may not be able to follow conversations or television shows they are watching. While they are reading, they may read the same line multiple times or skip over lines by accident.

Some people develop visuospatial problems. They can see fine, but their brains cannot make sense of visual information. They may not be able to understand the dimensions of objects, and they may have trouble identifying objects. 

Stage IV

Many people in the final stage of CTE develop dementia. They may be unable to recognize their closest friends and family members.

They may lose control over their bodies, finding it difficult to move their hands and hold objects. Their symptoms may be similar to Parkinson’s disease, which can lead to a misdiagnosis of Parkinson’s. 

A person’s emotional and mental states may deteriorate. Someone may become paranoid, believing that people are out to get them. They may also become extremely aggressive, reacting to minor troubles with violence and screaming. 

Treatment

There are no treatments specifically for CTE. However, therapies that work for dementia and brain damage can provide relief for people with CTE. 

If you believe you have CTE, you should go to your doctor with a list of your symptoms. They may order imaging tests so they can get images of the damaged parts of your brain. People with CTE tend to have deposits of tau proteins, which can cut off the blood supply to the brain.

Behavioral therapy can help you manage mood swings, depression, and aggression. If you have headaches, you can receive pain management therapy, including massage and acupuncture.  

You may be able to pay for the cost of treatment through a civil suit. You should visit reasonoverlaw.com and other websites to see what your options are for a personal injury lawsuit.

What a Brain Injury From Football Can Do

One brain injury from football may not cause CTE. But over time, repeated injuries can lead to the condition. You are also at risk if you join the military and play other contact sports. 

CTE takes place in four stages. At first, you may experience severe headaches and memory loss. As time goes on, you may lose control over your body and struggle with intense mood swings. 

There is no cure, though you can get therapy to manage your symptoms. Therapy works best when you know everything about it. Read guides to brain injury therapy by following our coverage.

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By SARAH