Concussion in Teens Increases Risk of Depression

Jerry Kennard Health Pro
  • I think I was in my mid-teens when I received my first and hopefully last concussion. Cricket isn’t generally regarded as a dangerous sport, well not if you’re scoring anyway, but it was for me that day. I was sitting just outside the boundary doing a quick count on the score pad. I heard the sound of leather on willow looked up and my next memory was opening my eyes to circle of concerned faces standing over me.


    In those days the embarrassment of stopping the game and being the center of attention seemed far worse than losing consciousness. So the game continued and I was left with a headache and a red circle on my forehead. These days I suspect the situation would be treated with the seriousness it deserves and I would be sent to hospital for observations and tests.

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    I was interested to read a report from the January edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health that teens with a history of concussions are deemed three times more likely to suffer from depression. Concussion is considered a mild form of traumatic brain injury and most research to date has focused on the psychological effects of trauma on adults. The study used data from 36,000 adolescents aged 12-17 from the 2007-2008 National Survey of Children’s Health. Of these, 2.7 percent had received a concussion and 3.4 percent had a subsequent diagnosis of depression even once other risk factors for depression had been accounted for.


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has produced statistics on the leading causes of traumatic brain injury. Falls account for just over 35 percent of the causes but this increases to 50 percent among children up to 14 years of age.  Other major causes are motor vehicle/traffic (17.3%) assaults (10%) struck by/against events (16.5%). More males are diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries and the reasons for this is that males are more likely to be involved in contact sports, aggressive incidents and to participate in high-risk activities including high-risk jobs.


    A report in the online website cites Jeffrey Max, M.D., a specialist psychiatrist in brain injuries. Dr. Max says his own research finds that 10 percent of children have a full depressive or subclinical disorder within six months of a concussion and that the risk of developing ADHD and mood control issues also increases.


    Lead author of the Adolescent Health study, Sara Chrisman, M.D., says “teens who have had a concussion should be screened for depression.”



    Chrisman SP and Richardson LP. Prevalence of diagnosed depression in adolescents with history of concussion.Journal of Adolescent Health, January 2014


    Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health (2014, January 9). Teen concussions increase risk for depression.ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 20, 2014, from­/releases/2014/01/140109175502.htm


Published On: January 20, 2014