National Football League (NFL) players may be at increased risk of depression as they age due to brain damage resulting from concussions, according to two studies that will be presented at theAmerican Academy of Neurology's 65th Annual Meeting in San Diego,March 16 to 23, 2013.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 1.6 to 3.8 million sports concussions occur each year. 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 , PhD, of the Center for BrainHealth at TheUniversity of Texas at Dallas. "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. It is important when a concussive experience occurs that medical professionals appropriately include depression screening in their follow-up assessment. Depression is a treatable condition if the proper and necessary steps are taken."