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Can repeat concussions cause any long-term medical problems?

The effects of multiple concussions has become a hot topic recently, especially because of what has been noticed in some professional athletes who have suffered many hits to the head. The term "chronic traumatic encephalopathy" is one that has become fairly commonplace when discussing professional athletes who have suffered from mental issues, cognitive declines, or anger management problems.

What causes CTE?

CTE is caused by multiple concussions. In the past, this condition was associated primarily with boxers; however, it has since come to light that anyone who suffers from repeat concussions, even mild ones, is at risk for CTE. This condition can occur many years after the concussions and is caused by changes in the brain, particularly the accumulation of tau protein.

How is CTE diagnosed?

As of now, CTE can only be diagnosed via a postmortem examination of the brain. This means that people who suffer from this condition can't receive any treatments for the condition. Of course, it is possible for a medical professional to presume that a person is suffering from CTE after an observation of behavior, clinical examination, and review of the person's history of concussions. Still, the diagnosis can't be made official until after the person dies.

The effects of a CTE, which can include behavior changes, angry outbursts, impaired judgment, and dementia that appears gradually, can be difficult to live with for the person with CTE and their loved ones. These issues can also be costly to treat. If you suffered from concussions because of someone's negligence in Ohio, you might opt to seek compensation for the brain injuries and the effects they had on your life.

Source: Brain Injury Research Institute, "What is CTE?," accessed April 04, 2016

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