Matthew Minner | September 20, 2022 | Brain Injuries
If you’ve ever read or watched reports about concussions in the NFL, you’ve probably heard the term CTE, which is short for chronic traumatic encephalopathy. CTE is a serious medical condition with lifelong effects, and it doesn’t just come from playing football. It can be caused by any kind of severe or continual head trauma, including the kind many people receive at work.
If you have reason to think that you or a family member might be experiencing CTE, it’s crucial to see a medical professional right away.
What Causes CTE?
CTE has been identified as a form of brain degeneration resulting from repeated head trauma. It’s commonly diagnosed in professional football players, boxers, and other athletes who regularly receive impacts to the head as part of their profession.
People who’ve suffered multiple concussions are more likely to be diagnosed with CTE, but they’re not a prerequisite. Even mild repeated head trauma can potentially lead to a CTE diagnosis.
Furthermore, you don’t need to participate in contact sports to suffer from CTE.
Many people work jobs that put them at risk of receiving repeated head trauma. For example, construction workers may accumulate brain trauma during the course of their labor. Even if that trauma is blunted by a helmet, suffering enough blows to the head might cause someone to develop CTE.
Diagnosis of CTE
One of the most difficult things about CTE is that there’s currently no way to diagnose CTE with any certainty.
Doctors may suspect CTE, but there are no sure methods for diagnosing the condition. They can only look for evidence, such as:
- Indications of past concussions
- Biomarkers similar to those that appear in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
- PET scan results
- A history of repeated head trauma
Eventually, your doctor may discover enough evidence of brain tissue degeneration to offer a diagnosis of CTE. Unfortunately, this typically comes long after significant degeneration has set in, which means you may have already lost a significant amount of cognitive ability. Once these faculties are lost, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to recover them.
Treatment of CTE
The worst news about CTE is that there are no current treatment options for the condition. CTE can be prevented by avoiding head injuries, and patients with CTE should take steps to do just that to keep their condition from worsening. But once degeneration has begun, there’s no known way to stop it from continuing.
Instead, the only option is to treat the symptoms. This means that if you have CTE, you’ll require the attention of a neurologist and psychiatrist. You may develop cognitive issues that necessitate learning new coping skills and ways of interfacing with the world around you.
Physically, you may experience deterioration in your senses of hearing and vision, loss of physical coordination, or seizures. All of these symptoms can be treated using a combination of drugs, surgery, and physical therapy, but they’ll become more severe as you get older, meaning you’ll need to stay diligent for the rest of your life.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Options for Dealing With CTE
If you believe that head trauma sustained while at work is behind your recent diagnosis of CTE, don’t hesitate to consult an attorney.
You shouldn’t be forced to pay for a lifetime of medical expenses without aid. You have the right to seek compensation for medical expenses stemming from a CTE diagnosis if your condition was caused at work.
An experienced personal injury attorney can explain your available legal options and help you pursue compensation.