College Athletes Often Become Depressed Just Days After Suffering A Concussion, Study Finds

When people talk about the relationship between football and concussions, the consequences always seem far off in the distant future. We think not of not the immediate effects for a player who just received a blow to the head, but of the cognitive issues of former NFL players who retired long ago.

But a new study finds that concussions can affect the mood of the human mind within just a number of days, and they often do.

College athletes who have recently suffered a concussion appear remarkably likely to experience a near-immediate rise in depressive thoughts, according to a study published last month in the Journal of Athletic Training.

The researchers compared 84 college athletes who had been diagnosed with concussions to a control group of 42 athletically active undergraduates with no recent concussion history. Both groups were asked to twice undergo the well-regarded Beck Depression Inventory Fast-Screen.

The first test acted as a baseline for the authors, and they second gauged depressive symptoms after a concussion or, in the control group’s case, later in the school year.

What the researchers found was startling. Twenty percent of concussed athletes showed significant signs of increased depression after a concussion, while the control group only showed increased signs 5 percent increase over time.

Non-white athletes, in particular, struggled with with post-concussion depression, the researchers said.

“Considering that these athletes will likely have multiple concussions in their careers and that a large percentage already displayed clinically significant depression after 1 isolated concussion, our results are concerning,” the authors wrote in the report.

Once someone has experienced a depressive episode, subsequent episodes are much more likely. Studies have found that if a man or woman suffers just one depressive episode in his or her lifetime, there is a —> Read More