CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It is a progressive degenerative brain disease caused by repeated brain trauma. Football, hockey, and soccer players, members of the military, or anyone else who is subjected to repeated hits to the head is at risk of developing CTE.
There Is No Cure for CTE
In some ways, CTE is similar to Alzheimer’s. The first symptoms may be memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings. It is different from Alzheimer’s, however, in that the symptoms in CTE usually appear at an earlier age — typically, when someone is in their 40s. Also, unlike Alzheimer’s, CTE can cause aggression and loss of impulse control. Tragically, there is no known cure at this time for either Alzheimer’s or CTE.
What This Could Mean for the NFL
CTE can only be definitively diagnosed after death. However, former NFL player Tracy Scroggins has sued the NFL for $5 million, alleging that he has received a preliminary diagnosis of CTE. An NFL spokesman said the League expects Scroggins’ lawsuit to be dismissed because Scroggins will benefit from the settlement in a previous class-action concussion case. Whether this particular lawsuit goes forward or not, though, the NFL has cause to be concerned.
Scroggins’ lawsuit claimed that for 30 years, starting in the 1970s, coaches told NFL players to use their helmets as weapons. The lawsuit claims that the NFL did not do enough to stop this practice, or they may have actually condoned it — even though, according to the lawsuit, the NFL knew at the time about the dangers of repeated head trauma.
NFL Slow to Admit Link Between Football and CTE
A New York Time article, referred to in Scroggins’ lawsuit, criticized the NFL’s research on concussions, saying that it wasn’t accurate because many of the teams underreported the number of their players who had head injuries.
It was only very recently that the NFL publicly admitted there was a connection between football and CTE.
The Problem Is Pervasive
Nearly 100 former NFL players, including several Hall of Famers, have been diagnosed after death with CTE. Frank Gifford may be the most famous of the players, but Junior Seau, who shot himself in the chest, may be the most tragic.
One prominent concussion expert believes that over 90 percent of professional football players have contracted CTE to some degree.
Attention Is Increasing to the Problem of CTE in Football
Scroggins’ lawsuit is likely to draw more attention to the problems of repeated head traumas and CTE among football players. This lawsuit follows on the heels of the earlier class-action lawsuit as well as the movie Concussion, which shined a light on the problem.
Brain Injury Attorney
While CTE develops over time, after repeated brain trauma, some brain injuries can occur instantly in an accident. If you or a loved one suffer from a brain injury, you need the help of an experienced attorney. Please contact us for a free consultation.