Chronic traumatic encephalopathy

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Chronic traumatic encephalopathy is a disease of the human brain. It is caused by repeated blows or injury to the brain over time. Diagnosis is confirmed by an autopsy examination of the brain after death. There is no known cure, but available data suggests that the disease can be avoided by avoiding and minimizing brain trauma. The disease was previously called dementia pugilistica because it was the diagnosis given to punch-drunk boxers.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy has been diagnosed in athletes who have participated in boxing and football. Recently, there are reports of CTE in athletes who play baseball, rugby and even soccer players who repeatedly "head" the ball.[1] Between 2008 and 2010, the bodies of twelve former professional NFL football players underwent postmortem evaluations for CTE, and all of them showed evidence of the disease, indicating a conservatively estimated prevalence rate of 3.7% among professional football players if no other players who died during this period had CTE.[2] As of December 2012, thirty-three former NFL players have been diagnosed post-mortem with CTE, including former Detroit Lions lineman and eight-time Pro Bowler Lou Creekmur,[3] former Houston Oilers and Miami Dolphins linebacker John Grimsley,[4] and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Tom McHale.[5] An early player to be diagnosed with CTE in 2002 was Mike Webster of the Steelers.[6]

Evidence of CTE was found in the autopsy of an 18-year-old high school football player.[7]

The autopsy of at least one mixed martial arts fighter, Jordan Parsons, found CTE.[8]


  1. Branch, John. "Brain Trauma Extends to the Soccer Field", New York Times, Feb. 26, 2014. Retrieved on Accessed February 28, 2014. 
  2. Gavett, B. E.; Stern, R. A.; McKee, A. C. (2011). "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: A Potential Late Effect of Sport-Related Concussive and Subconcussive Head Trauma". Clinics in Sports Medicine 30 (1): 179–188, xi. doi:10.1016/j.csm.2010.09.007. PMC 2995699. PMID 21074091.
  3. Case Study: Lou Creekmur, Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Accessed Accessed February 28, 2014.
  4. Case Study: John Grimsley, Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Accessed Accessed February 28, 2014.
  5. Case Study: Thomas McHale, Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Accessed February 28, 2014.
  6. "Webster autopsy 'one of the most significant moments in the history of sports'", Oct 8, 2013. Retrieved on January 6, 2017. 
  7. 18 year old high school football player. Boston University CTE Center. Retrieved on January 6, 2017.
  8. "Jordan Parsons Posthumously Diagnosed with CTE", October 21, 2016. Retrieved on October 31, 2016. 

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