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PSY FPX 6840 Assessment 1 CTE and the effects on Cognitive Performance


Capella University

PSY FPX 6840 Current Issues in Sport Psychology

Prof. Name


CTE and the Effects on Cognitive Performance

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): Implications for Athlete Well-being

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder resulting from repeated head traumas (Lepage et al., 2019). Its influence on cognitive functions, mood, and behavior is well-documented (Laffey et al., 2018). Unfortunately, a definitive diagnosis of CTE can only be made post-mortem (Lepage et al., 2019). Having played college football, I’ve personally observed how recurrent head injuries can diminish an athlete’s confidence and impair their performance (Barr, 2020). The relationship between sports-related concussions and CTE has become a significant area of focus globally (Barr, 2020).

Psychological Interventions for Athletes with CTE Risk

The field of sport psychology strives to optimize athletes’ mental states to achieve peak performance (Lavaellee & Wylleman, 2000). However, CTE presents unique challenges due to its cognitive and emotional consequences (Laffey et al., 2018). Symptoms such as memory impairment, impulsivity, and depression can severely hinder an athlete’s capacity to excel (Laffey et al., 2018). Nonetheless, approaches like goal-setting, concentration techniques, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) offer promising strategies for managing the stressors related to CTE (Lavaellee & Wylleman, 2000).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a Promising Approach

Among the various strategies, CBT, particularly mindfulness techniques, has shown effectiveness in alleviating the impacts of CTE (Lavaellee & Wylleman, 2000). By enhancing self-awareness and emotion regulation, athletes can better navigate the challenges posed by CTE (Lavaellee & Wylleman, 2000).

Challenges and Stigma in Professional Football

In professional football, the cultural emphasis on toughness often discourages players from acknowledging or seeking help for head injuries (Barr, 2020). This stigma has resulted in legal disputes between former players and the NFL over the mishandling of head trauma cases (Abreu et al., 2016). Conversations about concussions and CTE remain taboo in the league, with players fearing negative repercussions from team management (Abreu et al., 2016).

Emerging Research and Interventions

Despite these challenges, ongoing research offers hope for the management and prevention of CTE. Innovative techniques such as low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) show promise in mitigating the neurological effects of traumatic brain injuries, including CTE (Tsai, 2020). Furthermore, animal studies provide crucial insights into the progression of CTE pathology, informing potential treatment strategies (Kahriman et al., 2021).

PSY FPX 6840 Assessment 1 CTE and the effects on Cognitive Performance


Addressing the complex interplay between sports, head injuries, and mental health is essential for safeguarding the well-being of athletes. By implementing evidence-based interventions and fostering open dialogue, we can better support athletes at all levels in coping with the challenges posed by CTE.


Abreu, M. A., Cromartie, F. J., & Spradley, B. D. (2016). Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and former national football league player suicides. Sport Journal, 1-12.

Barr, W. B. (2020). Believers versus deniers: The radicalization of sports concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) science. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 61(2), 151–162.

Kahriman, A., Bouley, J., Smith, T.W. et al. (2021). Mouse closed head traumatic brain injury replicates the histological tau pathology pattern of human disease: characterization of a novel model and systematic review of the literature. Acta Neuropathologica Communications, 9, 118.

Lavaellee, D., & Wylleman, P. (2000). Career transitions in sport: International perspectives. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Lepage, C., Muehlmann, M., Tripodis, Y., Hufschmidt, J., Stamm, J., Green, K., Wrobel, P., Schultz, V., Weir, I., Alosco et al. (2019). Limbic system structure volumes and associated neurocognitive functioning in former NFL players. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 13(3), 725–734.

NFL Players Sound Off On Concussions. (2016, February 4). Associated Press.

PSY FPX 6840 Assessment 1 CTE and the effects on Cognitive Performance

Tsai. (2020). Preventive potential of low-intensity pulsed ultrasound for chronic traumatic encephalopathy after repetitive head collisions in contact sports. Medical Hypotheses, 134.

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