By Stephanie Smith, CNN
updated 7:57 AM EDT, Thu August 22, 2013
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in many athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Symptoms include depression, aggression, and disorientation, but so far scientists can only definitively diagnose it after death. Hall of Famer Mike Webster was the first former NFL player to be diagnosed with CTE. After his retirement, Webster suffered from amnesia, dementia, depression, and bone and muscle pain.Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in many athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma. Symptoms include depression, aggression, and disorientation, but so far scientists can only definitively diagnose it after death. Hall of Famer Mike Webster was the first former NFL player to be diagnosed with CTE. After his retirement, Webster suffered from amnesia, dementia, depression, and bone and muscle pain.
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Athletes with CTE
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CTE has been seen in brains of athletes who have taken a lot of hits to the head
  • CTE can be diagnosed only after death, but a new study begins to describe symptoms
  • Athletes with the disease exhibit behavioral and mood problems, as well as memory issues
(CNN) -- Ronney Jenkins cannot be sure whether chronic traumatic encephalopathy is clawing through his brain tissue right now, but he suspects that it is.
After all, he fits an emerging portrait of people diagnosed with the disease: a former professional football player who took lots of hits to the head -- a couple knocked him out -- and a life off the field that has begun to unravel.
"My mood has changed," said Jenkins, 36, a soft-spoken former running back who played for several teams, including the San Diego Chargers. "Sometimes I think I'm going crazy."
Jenkins began to suspect CTE several years ago when an uncharacteristic dark mood and, occasionally, deep anger began to bubble up at unexpected times.
Read the full story at CNN

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