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article imageLink drawn between concussion and depression

By Tim Sandle     Jan 18, 2013 in Health
Two new research projects into professional football players have drawn a link between concussions and a tendency, in some cases, towards depression.
Many sports have a risk of concussion, especially if rules are not properly enforced or safety equipment is not worn correctly. This is especially so for younger people. Concussion is, however, also a risk for professional athletes as with the case of NFL player Junior Seau.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that: “A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”
As a further indication of the risks from concussion, two new research reports have examined professional football players and have used empirical findings to link concussion with depression. Both sets of research, Red Orbit notes, were sponsored by the BrainHealth Institute for Athletes at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas,
The research teams examined thirty-four retired National Football League (NFL) players. The former footballers were aged 41 to 79 and lived in Texas. One set of research, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, found that former players who are depressed or cognitively impaired had suffered with concussion. This was shown from nerve fiber damage in their brain tissue.
The second research team have concluded that players who reported a higher number of career concussions also tended to exhibit more depressive symptoms. This research is to be presented to the a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in March 2013.
Both sets of research bench marked the responses from the ex-players, against a depression index score (the Beck Depression Inventory), against non-players of a similar age, and for this there was a notable difference. However, the studies cannot prove definitively that concussion causes lasting brain changes that leads to depression; although there is some type of connection for a larger group of former NFL players.
Further research will be required to explore some of the issues raised.
More about concussion, Depression, NFL, Football
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