The National Institute of Health (NIH) recently told the AP that Junior Seau, the beloved NFL player who committed suicide last May, had the degenerative brain disease CTE.
What is CTE?
CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy and is not uncommon in professional athletes who suffer from repetitive concussions in contact sports such as football. Seau, a 20-year vet, was likely repetitively hit on the field and suffered repetitive minor head injuries before developing the condition.
The symptoms for CTE are similar to the ones for dementia, including memory loss, depression, confusion, changes in personality, and aggression.
CTE and the NFL
In recent years, many former NFL players have posthumously been diagnosed with CTE. In fact, CTE can only be tested using samples from a deceased brain.
Seau ended his life with a shotgun blow to the chest. His suicide brings another NFL player to mind, Dave Duerson, who also shot himself in the chest, leaving instructions to his family to test his brain for CTE after his death in February 2011. It was later confirmed that Duerson did have CTE.
According to ESPN News, around 30 former pro players have been diagnosed with the disease. The number of players with CTE continues to grow every time an ex-player’s brain has been donated and tested.
The number of CTE cases in sports players is actually much larger, though not every athlete that suffers from CTE ever gets to the big time. Of the 1.1 million high-school football players only 69,000 (less than 2%) go on to play in the NCAA.
As the effects of repetitive head trauma can reverberate throughout a person’s life, it is all the more important to raise awareness of sports-related brain injury especially at schools. Increased helmet use, as well as recognizing a concussion when it happens are both crucial steps to preventing future concussions.
This story was brought to you by the Boston brain injury attorneys at Kiley Law group. If you have suffered brain injuries due to someone else’s negligence in Massachusetts, call 1-800-410-2769 to find out about your legal rights. Free Consultations for brain injury victims and their families.