Brain damage from concussion may increase risk for depression later in life, suggests two new studies

The effects of concussion have gained attention in recent years–from the battlefield to the football field. Two studies released last week examined the potential long-term impact of a concussion for National Football League players, reports ScienceDaily. Most research to date has only looked at the immediate effects.

The results suggest that players who experience brain damage from a concussion could be at greater risk of developing depression as they grow older — and that the severity of the depression could be associated with the extent of the damage. The findings of both studies will be presented in March at the 65th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Nyaz Didehbani, PhD, of the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas and author of one of the studies said: 

 “Our study shows that athletes who have sustained concussions in early adulthood may be at a higher risk for developing depression as they age compared to the general population. It is important when a concussive experience occurs that medical professionals appropriately include depression screening in their follow-up assessment. Depression is a treatable condition if the proper and necessary steps are taken.”