CTE, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, describes a condition related to long standing (chronic) traumatic damage to the brain (encephalopathy). For many years, we have known the acute injury (concussion) by different names: Accident Neurosis, Dementia Pugilistica, Post Traumatic Encephalopathy, "Punch Drunk", "Shell Shock", CAD Injury... to name a few.
CTE has received massive advertising space and research dollars due to the devastating effects related to its diagnosis. Concussion (Acute Injury) has been identified in contact sports athletes in: Football, MMA, Boxing, Rugby, Judo/Jujitsu, Hockey, Soccer (american football), Australian Rules Football, MLB, Bull Riding, Stunt performers and runners. Yes, even pounding the pavement for 26.2 miles can produce enough concussive force to injure nerve tissue.
*****Any sport or endeavor where repetitive trauma is present can contribute to a diagnosis of MTBI, Concussion or CTE if traumatic forces continue.
Types of Force Encountered in Contact Sports
Traditional impact testing looks at linear and rotational forces and their role in injury to the nerve system. It is thought, at this time, that rotational force is the primary driver behind conditions such as Concussion. We believe its not that simple and, after 20 years in practice caring for elite athletes, understand the mechanisms of injury to be multi-factorial. When reviewing literature available, it becomes apparent that one factor is being watched instead of looking at the whole athlete for more clues.
Examples of other issues that possibly accelerate the development of Neurodegenerative Disorders, MTBI, TBI, Concussion or CTE:
-Poor Diet, rich in Refined Carbohydrates (Harvard University)
-Prescription or Recreational Drug Use: Antidepressants, Antibiotics, OTC Pain Meds, NSAIDS, Steroids
-Health Status -concurrent treatments for other health issues -sleep patterns
-Types of training prior to injury, etc.
There are so many types of force studied in biomechanics and traumatology. Here are a few:
Spring Force (usually applied in the study of springs) describes how springs STORE energy but don't absorb.
Tension Force ( seen in cable and wires, but applicable to structures around the spine)
Friction Force (the force applied by a surface as an object moves across that surface) Different types of Friction Force exist, including: sliding friction (pushing an object across a countertop) and static friction.
How the body responds to stress is just as, if not more important than, the actual force or stress. That's where the beautiful design of our helmet comes into play.