This Week in Mental Health History

This week in mental health history: Monday, January 30, was the annual Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Awareness Day. CTE is a brain disease that usually affects those with a history of repetitive brain trauma. The disease causes progressive degeneration of brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein, tau. This degeneration causes memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, issues with impulse control, aggression, depression, and eventually dementia. This degeneration and its consequent effects can start months or years after the last brain trauma. CTE has frequently been associated with athletes in contact sports, especially boxing, and more recently and controversially, CTE has affected football Hall of Famers Ken Stabler, Junior Seau, and Frank Gifford, as well as player Mike Webster, the person on which the recent 2015 Hollywood movie Concussion was based off of. Yet only after years of pressure from research findings and the public has the NFL finally publicly acknowledged the connection between football and CTE, doing so in the middle of March of 2016. The question now arises of how the NFL, as well as other sports, will address the issue and hopefully lower the rates of CTE among its athletes.