NFL players are often misdiagnosed with CTE

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, caused by repeated trauma to the head, is a condition that many football players are diagnosed with. The trouble, though, is that many don’t have it. Ohio residents should know that CTE can only properly be diagnosed in an autopsy and that there is no official method for diagnosing it in living people.

CTE leads to cognitive symptoms like depression and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, memory loss and difficulty concentrating. Similar symptoms can arise from other conditions common among football players, such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. They may appear as well from the use of prescription pain medication.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health surveyed nearly 4,000 former NFL players who played from 1960 or later, and found that 3% had been diagnosed with CTE. Those diagnosed with it were more likely to have one or more of the conditions mentioned above. Other conditions include abnormal cholesterol, low testosterone and heart disease.

A CTE misdiagnosis can have a devastating effect on players, who know that the condition cannot be treated. It can lead to players neglecting their health and falling into depression. Researchers state that certain methods for diagnosing CTE in the living are being explored, including PET scans and spinal fluid analyses.

The failure to diagnose a condition is often the result of negligence. Negligent doctors may also too quickly diagnose someone with a condition when that diagnosis can’t ever be proven when the patient is alive. Whatever the nature of the diagnostic error, those who were harmed by it may pursue a medical malpractice claim. If the victim died, the family or another eligible dependent could pursue it. A lawyer may make the process go more smoothly and handle all negotiations.

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