Each year the Superbowl draws millions of viewers. No matter who you’re rooting for year to year, there’s a possibility of another player could be showing signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). After 2015’s film, “Concussion” depicting forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu’s research the topic has only grown in awareness.
The question is, can this trending topic make physicians vulnerable to claims? Let’s take a deeper look!
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
CTE is the condition formerly thought to exist primarily in professional boxers, referred to as dementia pugilistica. It’s a progressive degenerative disease which afflicts the brain of people who have suffered repeated concussions and traumatic brain injuries, such as football players who take part in contact sports, members of the military and others.
Brain Injury Research Institute doctors Bennet I. Omalu, M.D. and Julian Bailes, M.D. were the first to diagnose CTE in a professional football player in 2002. The condition has so far only been diagnosable through the post-mortem examination of the brain of an individual suspected of suffering from CTE.
According to the Mayo Clinic possible signs and symptoms of CTE may include:
- Difficulty Thinking
- Impulsive Behavior
- Depression or Apathy
- Short-term Memory Loss
- Emotional Instability
- Substance Abuse
- Suicidal Thoughts or Behavior
Some other suspected symptoms include: Irritability, Aggression, Difficulties with Speech & Language, and Motor Impairment.
It’s suggested that those with these symptoms relating to CTE seek physician help in case of suicidal thoughts, head injury, memory problems, personality or mood changes.
Although there may have been some recent scientific advances to change the time of CTE diagnosis, generally CTE can only be diagnosed after death by postmortem neuropathological analysis. Right now, MRIs, CT scans, etc. cannot be used to to diagnose CTE.
Maybe with more development there will be more defined processes to diagnose this condition to appeal to more negligence. Until then, there is not enough information to say definitively if there is a true vulnerability. We’ll keep you posted!