Symptoms of CTE

Possible CTE Symptoms


Like any brain injury, the symptoms will vary in each person based on the areas of the brain, which have been affected, the severity and frequency of the damage, the age of the victim during impacts, and possibly genetic factors that can heal the brain differently. People who have experienced frontal lobe damage seem to have problems with impulsivity, lack of self-control, anger and aggression. Others may be more “flat-lined” showing lack of emotion. There is a lot we don’t know about brain injuries. This website hopes to help you recognize possible symptoms of CTE in order to gain understanding. If someone has played a contact sport and seems to change behavior displaying some or all of the symptoms below, it may indicate the progression of CTE.

  • Quick temper
  • Physical Outbursts
  • Anger
  • Impulsivity
  • Lack of Self-Control
  • Poor Judgment
  • Reclusiveness
  • Addictive Behavior
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Confabulation
  • Memory Problems
  • Difficulty Keeping Track of Verbal Exchanges
  • Trouble Prioritizing
  • Lack of Motivation, Initiative
  • Feeling Misunderstood
  • Feeling Worthless
  • Feeling Helpless
  • Feeling Hopeless
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of Impending Doom
  • Difficulty Putting Ideas on Paper
  • Frequent Headaches
  • Unexplained Localized Pain in Different Parts of the Body
  • Disturbed Sleep
  • Depression
  • Negativity
  • Lack of Empathy
  • Ugly Thoughts
  • Verbal Outbursts
  • Suicide Attempts
  • Suicide Threats
  • Slurred Speech
  • Intolerance
  • Apathy
  • Egocentricity
  • Inflexibility
  • Mood Swings
  • Inappropriate Behavior
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Disinhibition
  • Lack of Interest
  • Lack of Energy
  • Tapping Fingers, Bouncing Legs
  • Messy
  • Poor Grooming and Hygiene
  • Stumbling
  • Muscle Spasms

We are providing this list to provide insight for anyone showing similar symptoms. There is also a list of the symptoms we saw in Patrick on the CTE Symptoms in Patrick page. Everyone is different. If you know a loved one diagnosed with CTE that showed a change in behavior, please contact us to add it to the page.

Please also see the page, What People With CTE May Want to Hear, for lessons we learned the hard way and sadly, too late.



Mental Illness and Brain Injury Are Not a Dual Diagnosis:

And this is a great personal tale from Lisa McHale, the wife of NFL player, Tom McHale:


A lineman speaks to Patrick Hruby at ViceSports