Depression alert follows football concussion study

AMERICAN footballers could be at increased risk of depression as they age due to brain damage from concussion, researchers say.

The warning follows a study comparing depression in 34 retired National Football League (NFL) players with a history of concussion to 29 healthy participants, and another analysing MRI scans of 26 retired NFL players, including five with  depression. The studies, to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual conference in March, found an association between concussion damage visible on MRI and later depression. 

“This study also may help us to understand the similar behavioural symptoms seen in other sports-related head injuries and in combat-related blast injuries seen in armed service members,” the authors said in a media release. 

Brit J Health Psych 2013; online 23 Jan