What is CTE Hope

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We created CTE Hope in honor of 24-year old Zac Easter, a young man who took his life after living with and suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) for six years. Zac loved football his whole life, but he asked his family and friends to devote their time and resources to make it safer by spreading awareness, designing a better return to play protocol, and providing support to athletes already suffering. We want to help prevent any one else from suffering the way he did by spreading awareness about CTE and by helping to promote and facilitate CTE research. We aim to provide support and hope to those who are already suffering from CTE symptoms. We want to provide support and hope to those who are already suffering from early CTE symptoms. We want to enhance the information available to caregivers that supports when an athlete can safely return to play; to provide individuals and families with the right information so that the welfare of an athlete (or anyone suffering a head injury) comes first; to support research that identifies why some athletes are more susceptible to concussions than others; and to foster research that one day leads to the ability to identify CTE while victims are alive and to create treatment programs to give people with symptoms of CTE hope and help. The money raised through our organization will go directly towards these efforts.


Goals of CTE Hope 

CTE Hope's goals fall under three pillars: education, prevention, and support. We aim to educate people on CTE and the dangers of concussions, prevent athletes from suffering multiple concussions and the long-term effects that follow, and support those already suffering from early CTE symptoms. The following are some of our 2-3 year goals:


  • Provide numerous public forums throughout Iowa in which we dispense the most recent research and information regarding CTE and brain health.
  • Host a CTE summit, in which leading CTE experts will hold panels and talks regarding the newest advances in CTE research.
  • Provide consistent and updated information and news nationally through our website and social media outlets.


  • Develop a point-of-care test which would allow a safer return-to-play protocol for athletic programs.

    • Currently, CTE Hope is sponsoring a saliva testing study, which is attempting to measure inflammatory markers and proteins associated with head trauma using new technology developed by the Walt laboratory at Tufts. The data will be collected from football and women soccer players at Simpson College who suffer head trauma during their seasons at marked intervals and will be matched with a variety of cognitive and balance testing. The athletes's symptoms will also be assessed. If successful, we hope to expand the study into a clinical trial at a D1 program.

  • Develop an athletic trainer certification program, in order to ensure the presence of a licensed athletic trainer at every contact sporting event at every level.

  • Support 2017 legislative efforts to improve the quality of care for young athletes in the state of Iowa. Legislation proposed will align with appropriate return-to-play protocol and increase the amount of athletic trainer support throughout Iowa schools.

    • Once successful, CTE Hope will go on to support federal legislation as well.


  • Create a 24-hour CTE Hope hotline that will provide support for individuals (or their loved ones) suffering from early CTE symptoms. 

  • Implement/fund CTE and head trauma support groups in cities throughout Iowa.

  • Create partnerships with the medical community in hopes of facilitating more support resources for those who suffer from concussions and early CTE symptoms.