A study of former professional rugby players found that they were more likely than other athletes to suffer from mental health issues, due to an increased incidence of injuries on the pitch.
Retired players who participated in the research suffered more head injuries than those in amateur or other sports, raising a possible link with poorer mental health later in life.
Those who had been hurt five or more times were nearly twice as likely than low players to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and irritability, and more likely to struggle with feelings of hidden anger. Was.
Symptoms of depression and irritability were also more common in rugby players who had suffered tremors at least three times during their playing careers.
Half of them experienced these indicators of poor mental health, while a third experienced fewer than three shocks.
Retired professionals who have played in an association or league in the UK have been compared to amateur rugby players and non-contact athletes, such as cricketers and runners.
Last year, former Wales striker Alix Popham, who was not in the study, was diagnosed with probable chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and dementia following untimely brain damage. ‘He was suffering on the ground.
The 42-year-old Grand Slam winner said: “The evidence from this research is related to our live experience of discussing and supporting members of the rugby family who are currently struggling as a result of their professional careers.”
Anxiety has become a major subject of study in other sports, with accidents in rugby and soccer balls being repeatedly linked to dementia in former sports stars.
Lenny Woodward, a former Wales rugby union and rugby union player, suffered several strokes during his career and was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 45.
Meanwhile, three former rugby stars untimely diagnosed with dementia are among a group of 10 former players who plan to sue the sport’s governing body in England, alleging that there is no protection against the risk of concussion. Was.
Bobby Goulding, Paul Hyton and Jason Roach Action against the Rugby Football League (RFL) For lameness, possible chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has also been diagnosed.
CTE is a brain condition thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head.
In July, the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) called on the government to launch a UK-wide programme. Minimal Concussion Protocol By July of the following year, with the goal of reducing injury-related injuries to the sport.
Some 189 retired rugby players, 83 elite athletes and 106 amateurs, and 65 former non-contact athletes were recruited for the UK Rugby Health Project between 2016 and 2018.
Scientists say more research is needed to determine whether there is a direct neurobiological link between repeated tremors and long-term psychological health, and to examine a possible link with the development of neurodegenerative disease. .
The study is published in Sports Medicine and is part of the UK Rugby Health Project, led by Durham University and involving researchers from New Zealand and Australia.
He also revealed that former professional rugby players were more likely than others to suffer from sleep disturbances.
Dr Karen Hind, Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University, said: “Our study shows that elite-level rugby players are more exposed to mental health issues after retiring from the sport, compared to those who play amateur rugby. or non-contact sport.
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“This was especially for players who were hit three or more times.
“These findings add to a growing body of evidence that may inform strategies to support player well-being and shed light on the risks of recurrent trauma.”
The researchers also recognized that if a player is forced to retire due to injury, it could affect their well-being later in life.
Dr Judith Gates co-founded the Head for Change charity after her husband Bill developed a degenerative brain injury after playing behind Middlesbrough FC.
She said: “This article adds further evidence for the strong associative relationship between sports-related traumatic brain injury and subsequent neurodegenerative diseases.
“The evidence is mounting. ,
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