Between the high profile suicides, lawsuits, and studies on brain injury, it isn’t very surprising that multiple studies have found that NFL players are at a possibly increased risk for depression due to traumatic brain injuries sustained throughout their life.
Two such studies reporting their early results come from the University of Texas at Dallas, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, lead by Nyaz Didehbani, PhD, and Kyle Womack, MD, respectively.
“The hope of our work with former NFL players at the Center for Brain Health is to increase awareness of the possible role of concussions in the development of depressive symptoms,” Dr. Didehbani said, according to Medscape.com.
“We hope that these findings will encourage health practitioners to add a depressive screener to cognitive assessments following concussions or any other type of head injury. Often times, only a few questions related to mood are asked and more specific questions related to negative feelings, for instance feeling self-critical, feeling guilty, and somatic symptoms related to depression, such as loss of energy, changes in sleep and appetite, are overlooked,” he said.
Didehbani explains that the motivation for the study he lead was the clear knowledge we have for the immediate effects brain injuries can have on mood and thinking ability, but there is a lack of research into the long-term effects that may emerge later.