The brain works hard to ensure physical and mental health. In essence, the organ processes everything each person constantly sees, hears, feels and tastes. Neurosurgery Outreach Month is designed to both honor neurosurgeons and spread awareness for people in risky pursuits concerning the noggin.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons reminds young people and their support systems to remain vigilant for symptoms of brain injuries while participating in organized sports. It’s a relevant message as 21 percent of brain damage incidents in youths are due to sports and other recreations. Over 60,000 concussions are sustained by high school athletes each year.
Concussions are potentially serious head injuries defined by the Journal of Athletic Training as a “direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an ‘impulsive’ force transmitted to the head.” While physical indicators of brain injury can vary depending on the severity of the blow, the emotional impact of a head trauma may be quite palpable.
A pair of studies published during 2012 looked at rates of depression in former professional football players who have suffered concussions in the past. Researchers sponsored by the BrainHealth Institute for Athletes at University of Texas in Dallas focused on 34 NFL players, aged between 41 and 79 and living in north Texas. Players who were depressed or had some sort of cognitive impairment usually displayed abnormalities in levels of white matter, a necessary material for nerve communication. The sister study directly found concussions correlating to levels of depression.
Study coauthor Kyle Womack finds these results important for public awareness of the true obstacles facing athletes.
“People will sometimes want to write off a lot of depression among these [former players] with psychological explanations: They’re no longer playing and being the center of attention, those kinds of things,” Womack said.
Dr. John Hart, medical science director of the Center for BrainHealth extends the significance to a number of occupations outside of the athletic sector, such as construction or firefighting, suggesting mental health professionals should further develop their criteria for diagnosing and treating depression.
Treating depression, no matter the cause, is a specialty for mental health professionals with Sovereign Health Group. These clinicians take the time and effort to learn about a patient’s medical and mental health history so he or she can receive comprehensive treatment right away and get on his or her way sooner. To start treatment right away, please call us any time to find a treatment center near you.
Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer