Do Traumatic Brain Injuries Put Collegiate Athletes at Greater Risk for Experiencing Symptoms of Depression?
Traumatic brain injuries and mental health disorders can trouble many people including college athletes. According to the NCAA, as of 2014 they found 10,500 college athletes reported concussions from the previous five years. A concussion, or traumatic brain injury (TBI), is defined by the CDC as, “A disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury” (2017). Everyone is at risk of a TBI, but this Evidenced-Based Practice Brief specifically looks at the prevalence of TBI’s in college age athletes. The NCAA states there is no age limit to play a college sport, but this brief focuses on athletes ages 18 - 24 years of age. The purpose of this systematic review is to investigate if concussions can be linked to the development of symptoms of depression. Symptoms of depression can include: feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt, sleep disturbances, and loss of interest in daily activities. Risk factors for depression include but are not limited to: traumatic or stressful events, abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs, or having a personal or family history of mental illness (Mayo Clinic, 2018). The results from this systematic review can influence nursing practice by promoting education and health promotion for college athletes at risk of developing depressive symptoms due to a traumatic brain injury.