Sporty teens with concussions are three times more likely to be depressed

Brisbane Times

By Stuart Layt

September 2, 2019

Medical researchers are calling for an urgent investigation into whether there is a link between concussions suffered by teenagers playing sports and depression they develop later in life.

In a perspective paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia, the researchers said a review of relevant cases found adolescents with a history of concussions were up to 3.3 times more likely to experience depression in their lifetime than their uninjured counterparts.

Australian researchers are warning there needs to be an investigation into the link between teenage concussions sustained playing sport and the onset of depression. But the researchers, led by Amanda Clacy of the University of the Sunshine Coast, said the data did not give enough information to make a definitive link.

“A longitudinal understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms associated with concussion recovery in adolescents is urgently needed,” Dr Clacy and her colleagues wrote.

“The same structures in the frontal cortices and hippocampus that are known to undergo rapid development throughout adolescence are also implicated following concussion and in young people experiencing depression and suicidal behaviours.”

The most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show young Australians are now more likely to take their own life than to die in a car crash, with suicide accounting for more than one-third of deaths (36 per cent) among Australians aged 15 to 24.

The matter was complicated, the team said, because there was significant evidence showing playing a team sport was beneficial to young people, both for physical health and social development. “Given the overlap in the regions of the brain significantly associated with depression and concussion and those most sensitive during development, two main concerns are raised,” the researchers wrote.

“First, whether these developmental neurophysiological changes render adolescents more susceptible to emotional disturbances following concussion; and second, what can be done to make these mechanisms more resilient to adverse and ongoing consequences of concussion.” In particular the team identified a contradiction in how teens were advised to recover from a concussion.

Current orthodoxy stresses the need to temporarily withdraw from usual activities, including school, work, physical activity and training, and screen time. But the researchers said this could exacerbate feelings of social isolation and lead to the onset of depression. They said the physical cost-benefit of playing sports where concussion was a possibility needed to be explored more thoroughly.

“An improved understanding of the neurological and developmental benefits ofphysical activity for the treatment of mood disorders in adolescents would offer the opportunity to concurrently promote neurological development and recovery, while also mitigating many of the known risks of depression and suicidality,

A Melbourne-based start-up is using high-tech mouthguards to give doctors objective data to help diagnose and rehabilitate athletes from brain injury. HitIQ is monitoring players at four AFL and four NRL clubs to collect data which, if proven to be reliable, may help explain what separates a heavy hit from a. potentially damaging one.

The research is being led by University of Newcastle neuroscientist Dr Andrew Gardner, a leading authority on concussion in sport.


Latest News

  • Former France, PSG defender dies four decades after slipping into coma
    Former France, PSG defender dies four decades after slipping into coma The Age By Julian Pretot September,7 2021 Paris: Former France defender...
  • Family of woman killed in cage fight express ‘mismatch’ concerns
    Family of woman killed in cage fight express ‘mismatch’ concerns Winchester inquest hears claims that opponent was bigger and stronger than Saeideh...
  • Shaken baby syndrome on trial: Judges to reexamine homicide conviction
     Shaken baby syndrome on trial: Judges to re-examine homicide conviction  The Age By Chris Vedelago  Republished 5/9/2021  Victoria’s highest court has flagged...
  • Rugby players’ brains affected in single season, study suggests
    Rugby players’ brains affected in single season, study suggests The Guardian Lucy Campbell 1/9/2010  A single season of professional rugby could be...
  • Murder charges laid after boy, 16, dies following alleged bashing
    Murder charges laid after boy, 16, dies following alleged bashing  The Sydney Morning Herald By Carrie Fellner August 7, 2021 — 3.48pm Five teenagers have...
  • Critique of baby shaking prosecutions raises troubling response
    Critique of baby shaking prosecutions raises troubling response The Age Greg Barns Barrister May 25, 2021 The response of Victorian forensic...