CTE from Abuse, Not Sports?


As a child, my husband was beaten on the head by an abusive father then, as a young adult, he went into the military and received multiple blows to the head. He has memory loss, depression, and other mental issues. Could these symptoms point to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) rather than to the basic diagnoses of depression, memory loss, etc.?


Multiple concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) may result in the cognitive and behavioral problems as you describe. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a relatively new term that refers to a pattern of pathological findings in the brains of individuals (predominantly athletes) who sustained multiple mTBIs and manifested cognitive and behavioral problems.

Individuals who are depressed may also complain of memory difficulties. In fact, many people with mTBI are depressed, which can make an accurate diagnosis more challenging because of similar and overlapping symptoms. Currently, CTE cannot be diagnosed until after a person’s death. Therefore, it is important to provide your healthcare provider information pertaining to your history of concussions in order to most appropriately guide treatment. Treatment could include rehabilitation, counseling, and/or medication.

Posted on BrainLine April 6, 2011


I'm wondering if there are any studies being done on live patients. It's my understanding CTE can only be seen after death? I was severely abused as a child. Severe is an understatement. I was knocked unconscious 2 to 3 times a week by my step mother. She beat on me daily for almost a decade. She also starved me, and locked me in a basement sometimes for days at a time. I personally think she was experimenting on me since she was a psych student for years at Wellesley College. I got taken by the state of Mass, stuck in psych floor at Boston floating hospital, then put in a bad boys school in Lancaster where I got really beat up, then I got sent to military school where I got raped and beaten some more.

I have random memory loss. I have zero empathy. Sometimes I don't even know who or where I am or how I got there. I have sudden rushes of feeling like I'm falling that can last for hours, I suddenly see flashes of light, and at same time face gets super hot, and right ear has very high pitch ringing. I have random eye twitching too.Also and completely random and uncontrollable rage. Frankly, I'm surprised I'm not a serial killer, but I'm convinced I have CTE.

Me too. Sadistic older half-brother tortured me and drug dealer father made me fight other big kids. Hugged anything I could find. Migraines, explosive anger, feels like I'm possessed.

I was savagely beaten from 4 to 11, by a drunk step mother who married my dad to put her kid in private school, while draining every penny from my dad. MA state finally took me away, stuck me in a kid gladiator, rape, fight hell group home, then I got sent to a military school where I got beaten more. I was knocked fully out at least 3 times a week, my whole childhood. And now I'm hellishly violent, and frankly want to watch the world die.

This is so sad. Literally, my childhood. Glad to hear you are well, hope your brother gets help.

i am wondering about CTE and my mom, she recently turned 70 and up until several months ago had been very independent, her symptoms do not quite reflect dementia, she remembers things as far as memories, short term can get foggy but mainly words dont come out right(no stroke), they are different words as far as context and early on she would verbalize not being able to make the right one come out, just as now she can verbalize not knowing what is wrong and unable to make herself stop feeling scared..she has in a few months reached a point of up and down suicidal moments and can say she does not know why just that her head "wont stop", she has wondered herself if it has been due to head injuries, after always being mobile she is now(within 2 months) at a pt where she cant figure out how to stand herself up, "how do i do this, where do i put my hands?" she forced herself to stop eating, thrown herself on the floor.. as a child she often experienced having her head banged on things or on siblings from a parent, as a nurse she twice had a very large(early nursing days) surgical light fall on her head, experienced domestic abuse and since fallen and or had various accidents where her head has been injured..she was a nurse for 36 yrs, drove and walked on her own up until feb of this year, fought through two bouts with cancer and open heart surgery, i have been through a lot with her so i am not in denial were it to be dementia or alzhemiers, with that being an actual diagnosis it would sadly be some sort of relief just to have it labled, instead i get drs who look at her like she is just old and this is the way it goes, well sorry, no it doesnt, not when someone was just driving, walking and living alone 4 months ago and is now residing in a corner of my living room suddenly not able to comprehend how to stand up, sit up, know that a cough or burp is not pain or a touch is not someone hurting you..we have NO exact diagnosis from any dr.. are there any studies being currently done on not sports related CTE? it is pure mental exhaustion..

I was repeatedly struck on the top of the head from 6 months until about 14 years old (when the effect was only scalp pain). I remember being trotted off to the doctors by my abuser and being prescibed what I later learned were sugar pills. I also remember that my teacher gave me a look that I descibe as peturbed when she saw I was head shy when approached from behind. (The preferred method of of assault was delivered as a "suprise".)

Not only was it made clear years before that an appeal to my other parent would be met with no response or with additional assault (but not of the surpise type.)

I learned at 4 years of age that everyone else was not living with chronic daily headaches, and at eight years old I had my first suicidal thoughts.

I am confirmed as bipolar at 31 years old after panic attacks and for the third time in my adulthood, being unable to complete a work contract: The longest I have ever been able to keep a job is about 27 months.

I also have severe and prolonged impairment in the ability to organize, and am unable to work. My son can now 18, can finally claim me as an independent and use my additional Canadian disability tax credit since my income is lower than the personal exemption -- it isn't much of a surpise that he chose nursing as his career. According to my psychiatrist, this tax credit is rarely given to patients with mental dysfunction who are not schizophrenic.

My additional symptoms include:

memory problems, problems with judgment, reasoning, impulse control, and aggression (passive agression), remembering more than one or two things, words or numbers backwards (maximum 3 or 4 at most), short term memory problems (I wear what I can around my neck), and

Almost all of exhibited executive funtioning problems associted with learning disabilities: comprehending how much time a project will take to complete, struggling to communicate verbal ideas or details in an organized, sequential manner, memorizing and retrieving information from memory, initiating activities or tasks, retaining information while doing something with it, for example, remembering a phone number while dialing, and remembering names or anything else I can't write down immediately. Also, I was never able to see in my mind's eye what organization of my personal belongings looks like, and I am a hoarder.

On the other hand,  Into my 20's I also used to have musical perfect recall of several different "voices" instrumental or vocal, but now I have recall on only up to three at once. This allowed me to complete a music degree.

I also have the ability to remember verbal conversations under stress or other exception emotional situations with total recall of the specific words spoken by the other parties, can often recall paraphrased incidents in the near past, exact or parahrased remarks that I made, and can estimate accurately when each conversation took place when related.

I discovered I was good learning foreign languages, although I have trouble understanding anything said if not spoken clearly or logically, and could learn very well from text books and auditory language learning recordings, especially in conjunction with visual aids.

In my 30's I discovered I was very good with logical processing, and languages, and could problem solve top-down although never bottom-up. I also could remember a very large group of related facts although I made a lousy waitress. These skills to my surprise allowed me to support my child in the hey-days of computer specialists -- when I was doing well (manic), and the pay usually allowed me to coast through the depressions.

Additionally, I have partial photographic memory, which is also deteriorating with age (I am now 50), however I do not see something in front of me if it does not look as I expect it to.

I am also able to express myself well in written form, which, if my teachers are aware of my learning disabilities has allowed me to be fulfilled in various areas of education.

My only sibling exhibits most of the same problems as I do, but had much more difficulty with English, but is very good in the computer field. As a child, he was treated much worse, physically, psychologicaly, and probably sexually. Our abusing parent denied the sexual abuse, and lied about the specifics of his complaint to the police. In addition to the same problems as I have, and that his agression exhbits in the outward form (I probably learned not to respond to assault due to the continual war that continued through his childhood and that he was sent away for a few years) Also a difference is the physical symptom of CTE: I recall as the younger sibling that my brother also had a problem walking for about two or three years before age twelve, being that he dragged his left foot which was crooked. 

It is very unfortunate that insurance issues are probably what currently dictate which living people are selected for research, and children at risk are not.

In 1968, as a boy 9 years young, I was struck by my fourth grade teacher on the head for punishment."It's what they did back then". After the impact sent me across the desks, he picked me up by the neck and shook me.The damages lasted my entire life with neck and head pain, concentration problems, and troubled school/career/relationships. I could identify with the comment posted and would like to share my experience, maybe help others to gain some insight, and possibly recover from the damages. Though I have no legal recourse I feel the teachers actions, and the Cajon Valley Union School District were criminally liable.They went above and beyond normal District disciplinary policies "back then", and I suffer today. John B. San Diego

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