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.
Article: Injury, pain, and prescription opioid use among former National Football League (NFL) players.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Athletes with injury-related pain, especially National Football League (NFL) players, are at increased risk for opioid use and misuse which may result in medical, psychiatric and social problems. This is the first study to evaluate the intersection of sports pain and opioid use and misuse among former NFL players. A telephone survey of 644 retired NFL players from the 2009 Retired Players Association Directory was conducted (53.4% completion rate) from March to August 2010. Over half (52%) used opioids during their NFL career with 71% reporting misuse. Additionally, 15% of NFL misusers currently misused vs. 5% among players who used just as prescribed during their NFL career. Prevalence of current opioid use was 7%-3 times the rate of the general population. Multivariate analyses indicated that significant NFL pain increased the adjusted odds (AOR) of any current opioid use vs. non-use (AOR 6.76, 95%CI 2.88-15.87), as did moderate to severe mental impairment (AOR 1.88, 95%CI 1.19-2.98) and heavy drinking in the past week (AOR 2.15, 95%CI 1.17-3.98). Undiagnosed concussions singly predicted current misuse vs. use just as prescribed (AOR 4.25, 95%CI 1.12-16.22). Three variables predicted current misuse vs. non-use: significant pain (AOR 8.33, 95%CI 1.98-35.04), undiagnosed concussions (AOR 3.51, 95%CI 1.98-35.04) and heavy drinking (AOR 3.48, 95%CI 1.63-7.41). Players who misused during their NFL career were most likely to misuse currently compared to others. Current misuse was associated with more NFL pain, undiagnosed concussions and heavy drinking. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine the long term effects of opioid misuse among athletes.Drug and alcohol dependence 01/2011; 116(1-3):188-94. · 3.60 Impact Factor
Article: Barriers and facilitators to mental health help-seeking for young elite athletes: a qualitative study.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Adolescents and young adults experience a high level of mental disorders, yet tend not to seek help. Research indicates that there are many barriers and facilitators to help-seeking for young people in the general community. However there are limited data available for young elite athletes. This study aims to determine what young elite athletes perceive as the barriers and facilitators to help-seeking for common mental health problems. METHODS: Fifteen elite athletes aged 16--23 years each participated in one of three focus group discussions. In addition to written data, verbal responses were audio taped, transcribed and thematically analysed. RESULTS: Participants' written and verbal data suggested that stigma was the most important perceived barrier to seeking help for young elite athletes. Other notable barriers were a lack of mental health literacy, and negative past experiences of help-seeking. Facilitators to help-seeking were encouragement from others, having an established relationship with a provider, pleasant previous interactions with providers, the positive attitudes of others, especially their coach, and access to the internet. CONCLUSIONS: Intervention strategies for improving help-seeking in young elite athletes should focus on reducing stigma, increasing mental health literacy, and improving relations with potential providers.BMC Psychiatry 09/2012; 12(1):157. · 2.55 Impact Factor