Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Date Information

2018

Department

Biology

First Advisor

David Mercer

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to determine if signs and symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) could be detected in college athletes who have suffered multiple concussions. College athletes are likely to be at an increased risk of suffering a concussion, due to the high-impact trauma that is often seen in contact sports. This question was explored through the use of a survey, cognitive test, known as the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), and the Beck Depression Inventory. The questions on the survey included necessary background information (i.e. age and sex), as well as more personal information including; number of concussions and organized sports played. The Beck depression inventory quantified the research subject’s level of depression, which is associated with CTE. The Mini Mental State Examination is another clinical test used primarily with Alzheimer’s disease patients to examine cognitive degeneration. We found no notable differences in cognition between members of the control group and members of the experimental group. However, the results of the Beck Depression Inventory displayed a significant difference between the two groups. The average score for the control group was a 5.5, which is considered normal, whereas, the average score of the experimental group was an 18, which would be considered borderline clinical depression. This would suggest that college athletes who have suffered multiple concussions may be more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression, and some signs of CTE may be detectible in college athletes.

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