Q. Recently I heard the acronym CTE. I have heard about TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury but not CTE. What is it?
A. CTE stands for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. Many people have had concerns for years about the potential for repetitive brain injuries connected with many differing types of sports. Mohammad Ali’s reported cumulative brain damage following years in the boxing ring is just one example. Many people are becoming aware of the connection between NFL players and football-related brain damage. A pilot study at UCLA using brain scans and former NFL players has shown signs of a crippling disease in living players. Now known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE, it is a neurodegenerative disease linked to memory loss, depression, and dementia. ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru wrote a book about football and brain injuries. And FRONTLINE produced a documentary based on their research, League of Denial. CTI, which researchers say is triggered by repeated head trauma, can be confirmed only by examining the brain after death. Not too long ago, CTE was reportedly identified in the brain of former Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest.