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Sports Medicine Channel
Reported January 17, 2013

‘Depressing’ Football Study

 

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Football players take some big hits over the course of their career and almost anyone who plays contact sports is no stranger to concussions. Lately, concerns over what long-term effects concussions could cause have been brought to the forefront in the media. In fact, as suggested by a new study, NFL players may even have an increased risk of depression later on in life due to these injuries. 
 
In the study, researchers analyzed 34 retired NFL players with a history of concussions and 29 people from the general population with no history of concussions by testing them for depression. 
 
The participants who used to play in the NFL scored high for depression and reported having an average of four concussions. 
 
To further verify results, researchers then tested 26 more retired NFL players and also gave the players MRIs in order to measure damage to the white matter in the brain, something that occurs during traumatic brain injuries like concussions. 
 
Although only five of the 26 retired NFL players had depression, researchers were able to predict which ex-players had depression with 100% sensitivity as well as how severe certain depression symptoms were just by looking at the amount of damage to their white matter.
 
"Our study shows that athletes who have sustained concussions in early adulthood may be at a higher risk for developing depression as they age compared to the general population,” researcher Nyaz Didehbani, Ph.D., from the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas was quoted as saying.
 
While these statistics may bum out football aficionados, it is important to remember that…
 
“Depression is a treatable condition if the proper and necessary steps are taken," Didehbani was quoted as saying. 
So if you play contact sports, be careful when it comes to concussions, and if you begin to feel down as you age, don’t ignore it! It could be an easily fixed problem. 
 
Source: American Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting 
 

 

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