Depression linked to concussions in football players
Depression is far more common among retired pro football players than people of the same age who didn’t spend years getting their heads banged around on the gridiron.
New research shows that football players who experienced concussions early in their careers are at a higher risk for becoming depressed as they age. Recent news of depression and suicide among some former NFL players has put a spotlight on the research.
“While it is known that sports concussions can cause immediate disturbances in mood and thinking, few studies have investigated the long-term effects that may emerge later in life, especially those related to depression,” said study author Nyaz Didehbani, of the Center for BrainHealth in a statement at The University of Texas at Dallas.
Scientists assessed 34 retired NFL athletes with a history of concussions and 29 people of the same age from the general population who never suffered a concussion. The results showed the former athletes with “significantly higher” symptoms of depression when compared to the control group.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 175,000 children suffer sports-related concussions each year. In the last 10 years, the number of sports concussions has increased by a whopping 60 percent.
Classified as a traumatic brain injury, the CDC says concussions are caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.
For more information about the effects and treatments for sports concussions, visit the CDC.
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About the Author
Vince Pierri, health enews managing editor, is a public affairs manager at Advocate Health Care’s corporate headquarters in Downers Grove, Illinois. Vince came to Advocate after more than 25 years of experience working for daily newspapers. A former photographer, photo editor and reporter, he now produces external and internal communications for Advocate along with pitching stories to national and local media and establishing relationships with journalists. Vince and his wife Catherine have six children and live in Mundelein. He enjoys reading and running but not at the same time.