Causes & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of CTE

Some of the possible signs and symptoms of CTE may include:

  • Difficulty thinking (cognitive impairment)
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Depression or apathy
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Difficulty planning and carrying out tasks (executive function)
  • Emotional instability
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

Other suspected symptoms may include:

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Speech and language difficulties
  • Motor impairment, such as difficulty walking, tremor, loss of muscle movement, weakness or rigidity
  • Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Vision and focusing problems
  • Trouble with sense of smell (olfactory abnormalities)
  • Dementia

The full list of symptoms of people with CTE at autopsy is still unknown. It is unclear what kind of symptoms, if any, it may cause. Little is known right now about how CTE progresses.


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Symptoms of Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

According to the CDC, “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. TBIs can also happen when a fall or blow to the body makes the head and brain move quickly back and forth. Even a “ding,” “getting your bell rung,” or a mild bump on the head can be serious.”
depression mental pain


Symptoms (common)

Thinking & Remembering – Difficulties

  • Thinking clearly
  • Slowed pace
  • Concentration
  • Recalling new information


  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry/Fuzzy vision
  • Nausea – Vomiting
  • Noise/Light sensitivity
  • Trouble balancing
  • Fatigue


  • Instability – irritability, sadness, anxiety/nervousness


  • Abnormal irregularity
  • Difficulty falling asleep