A comprehensive study that examined the relationship between concussion and mental health outcomes in elite and professional athletes has found an association between sport-related concussion and depression.
The review, by researchers at Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, has been published this week in the US journal Sports Medicine.
Lead researcher Dr Simon Rice said although the study identified a link between sport-related concussion and depression, understanding why the association existed was unclear due to a lack of high-quality research.
“We now know there exists a link between concussion in athletes and mental ill health, but establishing the connection is more difficult because the methodologies applied to most of the existing research on sport-related concussion and mental health difficulties are poorly suited to answering these sorts of clinical questions.”
Dr Rice said the interplay between elite sport and mental health was of increasing interest not just to researchers, but also to clinicians working with athletes, as well as those in coaching and sports administrative roles.
“It is essential that sporting bodies to be vigilant in identifying concussion, and provide athletes with appropriate supports to restore both their physical and mental health,” he said.
“In general, sport participation provides young people with a wide range of health benefits. With better research we can learn how to prevent and better treat and manage sport-related concussion. This will ensure young people continue to play sport and exercise and experience physical, social and psychological benefits.”
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