Symptoms of CTE

Possible CTE Symptoms


Every person is different and so is every brain. The brain has 100,000 miles of connective fibers. The brain is extremely complex. With CTE the brains wiring is being destroyed. And as this happens symptoms appear. For reasons we do not know yet, CTE seems to take two paths. The first path is quickly developing and racked with quickly cascading symptoms, irrational behavior, suicidality (26-28%), sleep disorders, irritability and depression, usually in the person’s 30’s and 40’s. Researchers have found pronounced changes in behavior with just a small amount of CTE lesions in the brain. The second path is more subdued and takes longer to show, in the 50’s and 60’s age range, and is more dementia related. Both paths have a large depression component. There is a lot we don’t know about brain injuries. We hope this list helps you recognize possible symptoms of CTE in order to gain understanding. If someone has played a contact sport or served in the military 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 / Rage
  • 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
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Anosognosia / Denial of Disease
  • Brain Fogginess / Brain Feels Numb
  • Tremors
  • Time Loss
  • 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
  • Dysgraphia (deficiency in handwriting)
  • Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria
  • Ringing in Ears
  • Sound & Light Sensitivity
  • Lack of / or Too Much Sex Drive
  • Spaced Out Feelings and Look

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 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