Study Shows Concussions Don’t Cause Long-Term Depression

Stevens Point (OnFocus) –  A recently published article in SportHealth indicates concussions do not have long-term effects of depression on high school athletes, according to a study done by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The study, titled  “Longitudinal Assessment of Depressive Symptoms After Sport-Related Concussion in a Cohort of High School Athletes,” sampled 2,160 Wisconsin high school student-athletes of both genders that completed a preseason baseline concussion symptom evaluation and questionnaire. Of those, 125 sustained a sports-related concussion during a two-year period.

Link to the study:  https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/ZGTFRNGWUMMHJBWCDQEW/full

The findings suggest that a sports-related concussion does not exert a strong influence on measures of depressed mood in most high school athletes longitudinally over the 12 months after injury. Emotional symptoms after a sports-related concussion are common, but they are typically resolved by return to sports.

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However, based on prior studies, the research team indicated clinicians should be observant of postconcussion complications, especially in athletes with prolonged symptoms, history of multiple concussions, or those with a previous history of major depression.

The research was conducted by Dr. Erin Hammer, Dr. Scott Hetzel, Dr. Adam Pfaller and Dr. Tim McGuine, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on high school student-athlete health and well-being. He is a member of the WIAA Sports Medical Advisory Committee and the National Federation of State High School Associations Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

“I think that these results support the WIAA policies that advocate for a prompt removal from play for any suspected sports-related concussion, as well as an early athletic trainer or doctor evaluation, and a guided, systematic assessment of recovery before the athletes are allowed to return to sports,” McGuine said.

Link to the study:  https://journals.sagepub.com/eprint/ZGTFRNGWUMMHJBWCDQEW/full

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]