Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Sandra Zakowski

Second Advisor

Dr. Brad Olson

Third Advisor

Dr. Pat Walsh


Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that emerges as a result of repetitive mild traumatic brain injury and has been studied within athletes of all sports. Repetitive blows to the brain are associated with many pathological changes and an emergence of tau pathology, all of which can lead to presentation with cognitive dysfunction, behavioral changes, and further motor decline in the later stages. After passing the inclusion criteria, a meta-analysis comprising four articles was computed using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Version 3. Two hypotheses were examined: (a) the earlier the age of exposure to football, the greater the likelihood the athlete will show CTE symptoms; and (b) athletes who play at a position with high or full contact, such as an offensive lineman, will have a higher likelihood of showing CTE symptoms than players of low-contact positions, such as special teams. Only the first hypothesis had sufficient studies to conduct a meta-analysis; thus, Hypothesis 2 could not be examined. Results of the random effects meta-analysis did not show significant effects for age as a predictor of CTE. Hedges’ g was estimated to be -.273 (SE = .213) with p = .20 (CI95% = -.691–.145). This review did not provide evidence to support either hypothesis. Study limitations and implications for future research are discussed.


To Mom, Dad, and Mayank. I don’t know where I’d be without you. From day one, you have all supported my dreams and stood by my side during the most difficult years of my life. We finally did it.

To all my professors throughout this program, it would not be possible to thank you all enough for the knowledge and encouragement you have given me to keep going despite how badly I wanted to quit. Dr. Zakowski, you have been the rock who kept me grounded and goal- oriented. I don’t think I would have gotten this far if not for you.

My friends and coworkers, you have been supporting me in ways you may not have even known. From allowing me to not text back for weeks, to understanding when I was just “too quiet,” you all took care of me without any questions. Meghan, we did it together and I will never forget our struggles (and our wins) hand-in-hand.

Dr. Rector, I remember us talking about the day I would graduate and the song you promised to sing at graduation. I hope you start thinking of those lyrics up in heaven, it’s almost time.