Chris Henry, the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver who died in a traffic accident last year, had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) — a form of degenerative brain damage caused by multiple hits to the head — at the time of his death, according to scientists at the Brain Injury Research Institute, a research center affiliated with West Virginia University. Researchers have now discovered CTE in the brains of more than 50 deceased former athletes, including more than a dozen NFL and college players, pro wrestler Chris Benoit and NHL player Reggie Fleming. Repeated blows to the head are the only known cause of CTE, researchers say. Concussive hits can trigger a buildup of toxic tau protein within the brain, which in turn can create damaging tangles and threads in the neural fibers that connect brain tissue. Victims can lose control of their impulses, suffer depression and memory loss, and ultimately develop dementia.