CTE stands for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive brain condition thought to be caused by repeated traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) over time. Researchers are still determining the agreed-upon symptoms and trajectory for CTE. Some researchers describe four CTE stages, which begin with mild symptoms and progress to severe and sometimes fatal repercussions. With new research and awareness around TBIs, especially in sports, scientists are beginning to distinguish CTE from other degenerative conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Further, doctors are better equipped to identify CTE symptoms and understand how to treat them. You may be eligible for compensation if you develop CTE because of someone else’s wrongful actions. 

CTE stages

GJEL Accident Attorneys fight for injury victims to help them improve their quality of life and obtain justice for what happened to them. No one should have to live with physical or mental pain because of someone else’s intentional or negligent misconduct. We advocate for injury victims to help them reclaim their agency and begin to move forward. 

What Is CTE?

CTE is an often fatal brain condition stemming from repeated TBIs. Military veterans, sports players, victims of domestic violence, and others who routinely encounter head trauma are most at risk of developing CTE. Because of its degenerative nature, researchers long thought it was a type of Alzheimer’s or dementia. The medical profession began recognizing CTE as a distinct condition in 1949, but its current name did not appear until much later. 

Researchers believe that repeated injuries to the brain cause the tissue and neurons to deteriorate and suffer damage. The condition presents symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s and dementia, affecting people’s memory, mood, coordination, and behavior in a degenerative fashion. Further, like other degenerative conditions, those with CTE may get worse over time, although people can take steps to manage the risk of getting further head injuries. 

Who Is at Risk of Developing CTE?

Anyone can potentially develop CTE, but those who are most at risk include people who suffer repeated head injuries. Populations that are at risk include the following:

  • Survivors of domestic violence, 
  • Military veterans, 
  • Police officers, 
  • Football players, 
  • Boxers, 
  • Car accident victims,
  • Epilepsy, 
  • Those with autism or other conditions who engage in head-banging activities, 
  • Soccer players, and 
  • Hockey players. 

People should try to avoid situations where they repeatedly suffer injuries to their heads. If someone involuntarily puts another in a position where they are at risk of suffering a TBI, an attorney might be able to help them identify and assert their legal rights. 

What Are the CTE Stages?

Currently, the only reliable way for doctors to formally diagnose CTE in patients is to view their brain tissue. Because of this, many diagnoses are only confirmed postmortem. Researchers have identified four stages of CTE, although they are still learning more about the condition and the symptoms it displays. Stage I CTE typically involves mild symptoms, such as memory loss, minor depression, or increased frustration tendencies. Stage II CTE includes more significant psychiatric, behavioral, and physical limitations, including severe depression and aggression. People with Stage II CTE also commonly experience headaches and memory and language problems. 

Stage III CTE results in a notable decrease in attention and concentration abilities, increased explosive behaviors, and difficulties with tasks that require fine motor skills and concentration (such as buttoning a shirt or writing). Finally, those with Stage IV CTE often experience severe memory loss and symptoms of dementia. They also may have difficulty walking, talking, and staying calm, often accompanied by paranoia and aggression. 

Can CTE Cause Seizures?

CTE, like other TBIs, may increase someone’s risk of having seizures or even cause someone to develop a seizure disorder. The person’s risk of developing epilepsy after a TBI increases with the severity of the head injury. Other risk factors include age and overall health. Some people may experience seizures immediately after the head injury, while others may not have a seizure until days or weeks after the incident. The medical term for when someone with a TBI develops an injury-related seizure disorder is post-traumatic epilepsy. 

Recent Study on CTE in Sports

The dangers of contact sports are well-documented, but only recently are people and players beginning to fully understand the risk of developing severe and irreversible brain damage. In a recent study published by Boston University CTE Center in February 2023, researchers found evidence of CTE in 91.7% (345 out of 376) of deceased NFL players who donated their brains to science. As Ann McKee notes, head traumas are the primary indicator for developing CTE, a diagnosis that currently requires viewing a sample of the brain. But additional research is underway to understand more about this complex disease.  

Can You Receive Compensation for Developing CTE?

You may be eligible to receive compensation if the underlying cause of your condition is or might be due to someone else’s actions. For example, a daycare provider may be responsible for injuries suffered by a child with autism if the provider did not put on the child’s helmet or take steps to prevent them from repeatedly hitting their head. Military veterans may also receive compensation if they receive defective or insufficient protective equipment while training or on active duty. In short, if someone else’s conduct may have caused or contributed to your injury, you may be able to pursue compensation to cover your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. 

GJEL Accident Attorneys: Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyers Serving California

CTE can have devastating consequences on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, changing the way you interact with and perceive the world. No one should suffer these effects because of another’s thoughtless or malicious actions.

Our team tirelessly fights for victims to uncover all possible avenues of recovery. We understand what is at stake and are here to hold the bad actors accountable. Kristin Lucey has over 27 years of experience helping injury victims recover compensation and has been recognized as a Northern California Super Lawyer since 2010. 

If you suffer from CTE because of someone else’s actions, contact our office today to schedule a no-obligation consultation. 

Visit our office nearest to you.