It is now almost common to hear about athletes who suffered a number of concussions over their careers having some difficulties later in life. The damage can be very serious.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy(CTE) is associated with repeated head traumas — concussions or sub-concussive hits — that are not allowed to properly heal. It is a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury. A variant of the condition, dementia pugilistica, is primarily associated with boxing. CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in gridiron football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports, who have experienced head trauma, resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue and the accumulation of tau protein. Individuals with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy may show symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression which may appear within months of the trauma or many decades later.
A number of athletes have been affected by the condition with serious consequences. Recently a former NFL lineman committed suicide after serious mental decline. His wife said it started with the nightmares and progressively got worse.
Bob Probert’s brain was examined after his early passing at the age and was found to have CTE (read more here).