With the number of former professional football players filing lawsuits against the NFL. there may be many people in Athens wondering just how serious brain injuries can be. As more information about brain trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy becomes available it may be easier to diagnose and treat some of these medical conditions earlier, potentially staving off disability claims.

For now, however, scientists can only diagnose the condition after death. This study hopes to provide the data scientists need to diagnose earlier.

Now, someone can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy through other ways than playing professional sports. Anyone with repeated brain traumas could potentially be at risk for the condition, and at the very least, brain damage. When this damage interferes with someone’s ability to work, he or she may wish to apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income.

One group of people in the study experienced behavior and mood changes at young ages. While some people in Athens may think of these changes as being relatively minor, it is always possible that a change could be so severe that would affect an individual’s ability to work. Over time, this group of people also developed cognitive impairments, but this happened after the mood and behavior changes.

The other group experienced the same changes, but in the opposite order. They also dealt with changes much later in life, too.

Regardless of how brain trauma happens, when someone is no longer able to work because of brain damage, he or she may need to apply for disability benefits.

Source: MedPage Today, “Behavior Changes Show Up Early in Traumatic Brain Injury,” Charles Bankhead, Aug. 21, 2013