Symptoms of CTE often go unnoticed for years, even decades, after head trauma occurs. Although symptoms can be managed, there isn’t a cure for the disease. And because there isn’t a scientifically known cause for CTE, many doctors hesitate to set exact guidelines for its prevention. With the apparent association with repetitive head trauma, there is a belief that avoiding that type of impact and decreasing risk of concussion would be helpful in preventing CTE.
In sports like football, proper playing technique and increased neck strength may help reduce head impact and movement, providing protection to the brain. Sideline and return-to-play protocols are also important for monitoring, managing, and rehabilitating head trauma.
With more research, we will learn more about this disease—its cause, additional risk factors, and ways to diagnose and treat it. The good news is that recent sports and news media headlines have sparked a growing awareness of the disease and propelled further research.