SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is making headlines again after Boston University released its findings after a posthumous examination of NFL star Demaryius Thomas’ brain showed he had stage 2 CTE.
Thomas died last year at the age of 33, only a few months after he announced his retirement from professional football. His family said that Thomas started experiencing seizures before his death. When he died, the family donated his body to the CTE Center at Boston University in hopes that their loss could help other players and their families.
Once Thomas’ family learned the signs of CTE, it painted a clearer picture of his daily suffering.
CTE is caused by recurring hits to the head and is typically found in the brains of former football players, boxers, and other athletes who participate in full-contact sports.
LSU Health Shreveport Professor and Chairman of Neurosurgery Bharat Guthikonda, MD, says the symptoms of CTE can vary depending on the number of repeated head traumas experienced throughout the patient’s life.
Guthikonda said there is a difference in youth sports compared to games at the collegiate and professional levels and that safety has improved in recent years.
“I think the priority of safety and the priority of equipment safety, coaching safety, tackling safety, I think these are all things that are really thought about so differently than they were ten years ago. That’s certainly true for Shreveport and Bossier,” Guthiknoda said.
CTE diagnoses are made through brain examinations after death, but doctors can help patients manage their symptoms.