Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease found in persons with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Over the past few years, CTE has garnered increased attention due to high profile, professional athletes being diagnosed with the disease. The 2015 film Concussion also increased public awareness.
While symptoms of CTE generally aren’t seen until a patient enters their late 20’s or 30’s, CTE has been diagnosed in people as young as 17. Symptoms of CTE include problems with impulse control, aggression, depression, and paranoia. CTE was formerly believed to be the result of repeat concussions. However, recent studies indicate repeat, sub-concussive hits – i.e. hits to the head that do not lead to the loss of consciousness or other concussive symptoms such as headaches, confusion, blurry vision, dizziness – may be associated with the development of CTE. The number of sub-concussive hits to the head needed to trigger degenerative changes in the brain is currently unknown, and diagnosis can only be made postmortem.
This is of particular concern for youth athletes; in 2017 alone, approximately 2.5 million high school students suffered sports-related concussions. Last month, a Georgia high school football player died of cardiac arrest as a result of a traumatic brain injury. Various lawsuits have been filed throughout the country: former college athletes have brought class action suits against the NCAA, multiple conferences, including the Big Ten, Pac-12, Western Athletic, and Southeastern, and universities including Penn State and Vanderbilt, alleging the NCAA was negligent in preventing, identifying, and treating concussions; former high school athletes brought suit in Pennsylvania seeking to impose statewide restrictions and guidelines on how high schools deal with head injuries; and the mothers of two previous youth football players brought suit against Pop Warner, alleging the youth football league’s actions contributed to the development of CTE in their children, and ultimately led to their untimely death.
While sports-related CTE lawsuits are on the rise, athletes are not the only victims of this disease. CTE is the result of multiple head traumas, and can be caused by multiple falls, physical abuse, work accidents, military service, and car accidents. It is one type of injury that falls under the umbrella of a “traumatic brain injury.” While the impacts of CTE develop over time, other brain injuries have a more immediate effect. For example, a car accident can cause permanent damage to the brain and lead to the loss of motor function, speech and memory.
The circumstances of each case vary. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury – whether sports related or otherwise – you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorneys at Levin Simes for a free consultation. Phone: 415-426-3000 ; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention; Youth Risk Behavior Survey, available at https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/index.htm?s_cid=tw-zaza-1171