Depression and pain in retired professional football players.
ABSTRACT To assess the prevalence of depressive symptoms and difficulty with pain in retired professional football players, difficulties with the transition from active athletic competition to retirement, perceptions of barriers to receiving assistance for those difficulties, and recommended programs to provide such assistance.
Survey sent to 3377 retired members of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), with usable responses received from 1617 members (functional response rate, 48.6%).
Respondents were categorized as experiencing no to mild depression (N=1366; 84.5%) or moderate to severe depression (N=237; 14.7%). Respondents were also categorized according to whether they reported difficulty with pain as not or somewhat common (N=837; 51.8%) versus quite or very common (N=769; 47.6%). Respondents most frequently reported trouble sleeping, financial difficulties, marital or relationship problems, and problems with fitness, exercise, and aging, all of which were strongly correlated with the presence of moderate to severe depression and with quite or very common difficulty with pain. The same difficulties were even more commonly experienced by respondents who reported both moderate to severe depression and quite or very common difficulty with pain, compared with those who reported low scores in both domains.
Retired professional football players experience levels of depressive symptoms similar to those of the general population, but the impact of these symptoms is compounded by high levels of difficulty with pain. The combination of depression and pain is strongly predictive of significant difficulties with sleep, social relationships, financial difficulties, and problems with exercise and fitness. A hypothesis explaining this association is that significant musculoskeletal disability and chronic pain interferes with physical activity and fitness during retirement and increases the risk of depression.
- SourceAvailable from: Jeremy F Strain[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES To assess cognitive impairment and depression in aging former professional football (National Football League [NFL]) players and to identify neuroimaging correlates of these dysfunctions. DESIGN We compared former NFL players with cognitive impairment and depression, cognitively normal retired players who were not depressed, and matched healthy control subjects. SETTING Research center in the North Texas region of the United States. PATIENTS Cross-sectional sample of former NFL players with and without a history of concussion recruited from the North Texas region and age-, education-, and IQ-matched controls. Thirty-four retired NFL players (mean age, 61.8 years) underwent neurological and neuropsychological assessment. A subset of 26 players also underwent detailed neuroimaging; imaging data in this subset were compared with imaging data acquired in 26 healthy matched controls. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Neuropsychological measures, clinical diagnoses of depression, neuroimaging mea-sures of white matter pathology, and a measure of cerebral blood flow. RESULTS Of the 34 former NFL players, 20 were cognitively normal. Four were diagnosed as having a fixed cognitive deficit; 8, mild cognitive impairment; 2, dementia; and 8, depression. Of the subgroup in whom neuroimaging data were acquired, cognitively impaired participants showed the greatest deficits on tests of naming, word finding, and visual/verbal episodic memory. We found significant differences in white matter abnormalities in cognitively impaired and depressed retired players compared with their respective controls. Regional blood flow differences in the cognitively impaired group (left temporal pole, inferior parietal lobule, and superior temporal gyrus) corresponded to regions associated with impaired neurocognitive performance (problems with memory, naming, and word finding). CONCLUSIONS Cognitive deficits and depression appear to be more common in aging former NFL players compared with healthy controls. These deficits are correlated with white matter abnormalities and changes in regional cerebral blood flow.JAMA neurology. 01/2013;
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: To provide a critical review of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by considering the range of clinical presentations, neuropathology and the strength of evidence for CTE as a distinct syndrome. Seven electronic databases were searched using a combination of MeSH terms and key words to identify relevant articles. Specific inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to select studies for review. Data extracted where present included study population, exposure/outcome measures, clinical data, neurological examination findings, cognitive assessment, investigation results and neuropathology results. The data from 158 published case studies were reviewed. Critical differences between the older descriptions of CTE (the 'classic' syndrome) and the recent descriptions (the 'modern' syndrome) exist in the age of onset, natural history, clinical features, pathological findings and diagnostic criteria, which suggests that modern CTE is a different syndrome. The methodology of the current studies does not allow determination of aetiology or risk factors. The clinicopathological differences between the 'classic' CTE syndrome and the 'modern' syndrome suggest that the new syndrome needs a different nomenclature. Further research is required to clearly define the clinical phenotype of the modern CTE syndrome and establish the underlying aetiology. Future research needs to address these issues through large-scale, prospective clinicopathological studies.British journal of sports medicine 06/2013; · 3.67 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: In the initial autopsy case studies of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), some researchers have concluded that the proteinopathy associated with CTE is the underlying cause of suicidality and completed suicide in former athletes. A review of the literature on contact sports and risk of completed suicide revealed only one epidemiological study with direct relevant data. There are no published cross-sectional, epidemiological or prospective studies showing a relation between contact sports and risk of suicide. One published epidemiological study suggests that retired National Football League players have lower rates of death by suicide than the general population. Outside of sports, there is a mature body of evidence suggesting that the causes of suicide are complex, multifactorial and difficult to predict in individual cases. Future research might establish a clear causal connection between the proteinopathy of CTE and suicide. At present, however, there is insufficient scientific evidence to conclude that there is a strong causal relationship between the presence of these proteinopathies and suicide in former athletes. Additional research is needed to determine the extent to which the neuropathology of CTE is a possible mediator or moderator variable associated with suicide.British journal of sports medicine 10/2013; · 3.67 Impact Factor