Nine-Year Risk of Depression Diagnosis Increases With Increasing Self-Reported Concussions in Retired Professional Football Players

ArticleinThe American Journal of Sports Medicine 40(10):2206-12 · August 2012with29 Reads
DOI: 10.1177/0363546512456193 · Source: PubMed
Abstract
Concussions may accelerate the progression to long-term mental health outcomes such as depression in athletes. To prospectively determine the effects of recurrent concussions on the clinical diagnosis of depression in a group of retired football players. Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2. Members of the National Football League Retired Players Association responded to a baseline General Health Survey (GHS) in 2001. They also completed a follow-up survey in 2010. Both surveys asked about demographic information, number of concussions sustained during their professional football career, physical/mental health, and prevalence of diagnosed medical conditions. A physical component summary (Short Form 36 Measurement Model for Functional Assessment of Health and Well-Being [SF-36 PCS]) was calculated from responses for physical health. The main exposure, the history of concussions during the professional playing career (self-report recalled in 2010), was stratified into 5 categories: 0 (referent), 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 9, and 10+ concussions. The main outcome was a clinical diagnosis of depression between the baseline and follow-up GHS. Classic tabular methods computed crude risk ratios. Binomial regression with a Poisson residual and robust variance estimation to stabilize the fitting algorithm estimated adjusted risk ratios. χ(2) analyses identified associations and trends between concussion history and the 9-year risk of a depression diagnosis. Of the 1044 respondents with complete data from the baseline and follow-up GHS, 106 (10.2%) reported being clinically diagnosed as depressed between the baseline and follow-up GHS. Approximately 65% of all respondents self-reported sustaining at least 1 concussion during their professional careers. The 9-year risk of a depression diagnosis increased with an increasing number of self-reported concussions, ranging from 3.0% in the "no concussions" group to 26.8% in the "10+" group (linear trend: P < .001). A strong dose-response relationship was observed even after controlling for confounders (years retired from professional football and 2001 SF-36 PCS). Retired athletes with a depression diagnosis also had a lower SF-36 PCS before diagnosis. The association between concussions and depression was independent of the relationship between decreased physical health and depression. Professional football players self-reporting concussions are at greater risk for having depressive episodes later in life compared with those retired players self-reporting no concussions.
    • "Data on concussion history were obtained from selfreport , thus recall bias is a potential issue. Self-reported concussion does not necessarily align with medically diagnosed concussion [44]; however, self-reporting of prior concussion has been shown to be a reliable ordinal measure and may reflect some head injuries that were not previously reported [45, 46]. We did not assess the time since the last concussion, nor did we assess concussions that were not related to sport. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AimThis study investigated differences in cognitive function between former rugby and non-contact-sport players, and assessed the association between concussion history and cognitive function. Methods Overall, 366 former players (mean ± standard deviation [SD] age 43.3 ± 8.2 years) were recruited from October 2012 to April 2014. Engagement in sport, general health, sports injuries and concussion history, and demographic information were obtained from an online self-report questionnaire. Cognitive functioning was assessed using the online CNS Vital Signs neuropsychological test battery. Cohen’s d effect size statistics were calculated for comparisons across player groups, concussion groups (one or more self-reported concussions versus no concussions) and between those groups with CNS Vital Signs age-matched norms (US norms). Individual differences within groups were represented as SDs. ResultsThe elite-rugby group (n = 103) performed worse on tests of complex attention, processing speed, executive functioning, and cognitive flexibility than the non-contact-sport group (n = 65), and worse than the community-rugby group (n = 193) on complex attention. The community-rugby group performed worse than the non-contact group on executive functioning and cognitive flexibility. Compared with US norms, all three former player groups performed worse on verbal memory and reaction time; rugby groups performed worse on processing speed, cognitive flexibility and executive functioning; and the community-rugby group performed worse on composite memory. The community-rugby group and non-contact-sport group performed slightly better than US norms on complex attention, as did the elite-rugby group for motor speed. All three player groups had greater individual differences than US norms on composite memory, verbal memory and reaction time. The elite-rugby group had greater individual differences on processing speed and complex attention, and the community-rugby group had greater individual differences on psychomotor speed and motor speed. The average number of concussions recalled per player was greater for elite rugby and community rugby than non-contact sport. Former players who recalled one or more concussions (elite rugby, 85 %; community rugby, 77 %; non-contact sport, 23 %) had worse scores on cognitive flexibility, executive functioning, and complex attention than players who did not recall experiencing a concussion. Conclusions Past participation in rugby or a history of concussion were associated with small to moderate neurocognitive deficits (as indicated by worse CNS Vital Signs scores) in athletes post retirement from competitive sport.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2016
    • "Similar findings have been reported in other highincome countries [4][5][6]. Epidemiological studies have consistently found higher rates of adverse outcomes in adults who have sustained a TBI when compared to the general population [7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]. However, there is a lack of large-scale studies that have examined the potential long-term impact of TBI exposure during childhood and adolescence. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of disability and mortality in children and young adults worldwide. It remains unclear, however, how TBI in childhood and adolescence is associated with adult mortality, psychiatric morbidity, and social outcomes. Methods and findings: In a Swedish birth cohort between 1973 and 1985 of 1,143,470 individuals, we identified all those who had sustained at least one TBI (n = 104,290 or 9.1%) up to age 25 y and their unaffected siblings (n = 68,268) using patient registers. We subsequently assessed these individuals for the following outcomes using multiple national registries: disability pension, specialist diagnoses of psychiatric disorders and psychiatric inpatient hospitalisation, premature mortality (before age 41 y), low educational attainment (not having achieved secondary school qualifications), and receiving means-tested welfare benefits. We used logistic and Cox regression models to quantify the association between TBI and specified adverse outcomes on the individual level. We further estimated population attributable fractions (PAF) for each outcome measure. We also compared differentially exposed siblings to account for unobserved genetic and environmental confounding. In addition to relative risk estimates, we examined absolute risks by calculating prevalence and Kaplan-Meier estimates. In complementary analyses, we tested whether the findings were moderated by injury severity, recurrence, and age at first injury (ages 0-4, 5-9, 6-10, 15-19, and 20-24 y). TBI exposure was associated with elevated risks of impaired adult functioning across all outcome measures. After a median follow-up period of 8 y from age 26 y, we found that TBI contributed to absolute risks of over 10% for specialist diagnoses of psychiatric disorders and low educational attainment, approximately 5% for disability pension, and 2% for premature mortality. The highest relative risks, adjusted for sex, birth year, and birth order, were found for psychiatric inpatient hospitalisation (adjusted relative risk [aRR] = 2.0; 95% CI: 1.9-2.0; 6,632 versus 37,095 events), disability pension (aRR = 1.8; 95% CI: 1.7-1.8; 4,691 versus 29,778 events), and premature mortality (aRR = 1.7; 95% CI: 1.6-1.9; 799 versus 4,695 events). These risks were only marginally attenuated when the comparisons were made with their unaffected siblings, which implies that the effects of TBI were consistent with a causal inference. A dose-response relationship was observed with injury severity. Injury recurrence was also associated with higher risks-in particular, for disability pension we found that recurrent TBI was associated with a 3-fold risk increase (aRR = 2.6; 95% CI: 2.4-2.8) compared to a single-episode TBI. Higher risks for all outcomes were observed for those who had sustained their first injury at an older age (ages 20-24 y) with more than 25% increase in relative risk across all outcomes compared to the youngest age group (ages 0-4 y). On the population level, TBI explained between 2%-6% of the variance in the examined outcomes. Using hospital data underestimates milder forms of TBI, but such misclassification bias suggests that the reported estimates are likely conservative. The sibling-comparison design accounts for unmeasured familial confounders shared by siblings, including half of their genes. Thus, residual genetic confounding remains a possibility but will unlikely alter our main findings, as associations were only marginally attenuated within families. Conclusions: Given our findings, which indicate potentially causal effects between TBI exposure in childhood and later impairments across a range of health and social outcomes, age-sensitive clinical guidelines should be considered and preventive strategies should be targeted at children and adolescents.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2016
    • "Appaneal et al. (2009) found similar results with elevated depression scores from 1 week up to 1 month after injury when compared with healthy controls. There has been a number of evidence suggesting that sport-related concussions can lead to changes in emotional state (Hutchison et al., 2009) and might be connected to depression (Kerr et al., 2012). But while there might be a significant connection between concussions and depression, there is evidence suggesting that other sport injuries may have comparable or greater effects on mental health (Mainwaring et al., 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Depression among elite athletes is a topic of increasing interest and public awareness. Currently, empirical data on elite athletes’ depressive symptoms are rare. Recent results indicate sport related mechanisms and effects on depression prevalence in elite athlete samples; specific factors associated with depression include overtraining, injury and failure in competition. One such effect is that athletes competing in individual sports were found to be more prone to depressive symptoms than athletes competing in team sports. The present study examined this effect by testing three possible, psychological mediators based on theoretical and empirical assumptions: namely, cohesion in team or training groups; perception of perfectionistic expectations from others; and negative attribution after failure. In a cross-sectional study, 199 German junior elite athletes (Mage = 14.96; SD = 1.56) participated and completed questionnaires on perfectionism, cohesion, attribution after failure, and depressive symptoms. Mediation analysis using path analysis with bootstrapping was used for data analysis. As expected, athletes in individual sports showed higher scores in depression than athletes in team sports (t(197) = 2.05; p < .05; d = .30). Furthermore, negative attribution after failure was associated with individual sports (β = .27; p < .001), as well as with the dependent variable depression (β = .26; p < .01). Mediation hypothesis was supported by a significant indirect effect (β = .07; p < .05). Negative attribution after failure mediated the relationship between individual sports and depression scores. Neither cohesion nor perfectionism met essential criteria to serve as mediators: Cohesion was not elevated in either team or individual sports, and perfectionism was positively related to team sports. The results support the assumption of previous findings on sport specific mechanisms (here the effect between individual and team sports) contributing to depressive symptoms among elite athletes. Additionally, attribution after failure seems to play an important role in this regard and could be considered in further research and practitioners in the field of sport psychology.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2016
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