Concussion associated with depression

Written by on May 22, 2013 in Concussion Articles

A study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting by Kevin Guskiewicz  and others and about to be published in Med Sci Sports Exerc claims that the risk of depression later in life is three times higher in those American football players who have suffered three or more concussive episodes in their career. Click to read headline article from the Daily Telegraph .

The research will be controversial because of the important link but also can be criticised as inconclusive because of the retrospective methodology. However, it highlights that perhaps more research needs to be undertaken into concussion in football in general. The authors have already published previously a study linking concussion and mild brain impairment later in life. Click to read the previous abstract .

These possible increases in risks have more implications for junior and amateur football than they do for professional sport. Professional footballers suffer low but noticeable rates of concussion (which in the AFL have dropped over recent years – click to read recent AFL injury reports ). However, the benefits of playing professional sport (including the pay) and high degree of medical surveillance means that professional footballers for the most part are well looked after in this regard. Amateurs and juniors who don’t get paid to play and don’t have team doctors may find these research findings of concern.

This latest research from the USA suggests that further injury surveillance and specific studies should be performed in football codes around the world, particularly for junior and amateur sport.

However, injury surveillance is almost never carried out at amateur and junior football (of all codes) in Australia and very few teams have access to a team doctor. Australia’s Federal government has a ‘head in the sand’ attitude to sports injuries, with no plans on the table to form any government body which would oversee or take responsibility for counting or researching the costs of sports injuries in Australia, including concussion.



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