Ex-professional sportsmen who suffer concussion are more likely to report mental health problems than those who do not, according to new research. It says those who had four or five concussions during their career were 1.5 times more likely to have anxiety, depression or sleep disturbance. The Fifpro study questioned 576 former top-flight footballers, ice hockey and rugby players from eight countries.
The former players surveyed – all men under 50 and from Finland, France, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland – who suffered six concussions were between two and five times more likely to report symptoms of common mental disorders than those who had no concussions. The findings suggest during the first 10 years after retirement players are seven to 11% more likely to report these symptoms. However, the study says there is no suggestion these symptoms of common mental disorders indicate a degree of brain damage.