CogniFit's Science blog: Does Brain Injury Lead To A Higher Rate Of Suicide

Does Brain Injury Lead To A Higher Rate Of Suicide

Brain injury is tragic for anyone who has experienced it. It's equally as tough on the people and families who are around the victim. This can become even worse when the person with brain damage commits suicide.

Recent incidences of concussions leading to suicide has people questioning whether this type of brain damage plays an important role in suicide.

This has really come to the forefront recently with former NFL will players including Junior Seau. What's interesting about Junior Seau is that he played professional football in the NFL for over 17 years. This is certainly one of the most competitive sports and one of the most violent sports as well. He is the second former NFL player to suicide in the past two weeks.

Many other former NFL players are suffering from a variety of injuries including concussions and depression. Junior Seau played a position where he was constantly hitting people, many times head on. When he started playing football, almost 20 years ago, the helmets were not as good as they are today. 

Helmets were not as well designed to cushion the head from the constant pounding that it occurs practice and games every week. Players were also not as well trained in how to properly tackle without exposing themselves to brain injuries. Some people feel that Seau's recent death is only the beginning of what will sadly be many more deaths to come.

Could there really be many more suicides resulting from brain damage that NFL players sustained while earning their living in a game they loved? One thing currently being studied is the cumulative effect of contact and the results of brain damage. Football players would be more likely to experience this then other types of professions.

It stands to reason that if your head is constantly being hit over and over it will have an effect on your brain. Many times this leads to concussions. Football players are tough individuals. Many played through injuries and concussions because they wanted to be out on the field. Injuries in football used to be considered a form of weakness if you did not get back in the game right away.

Today athletic trainers for the teams have a greater impact on whether a player is determined capable of playing or not and brain health has become an important factor of athletic capability. Player suspected of concussions are not put back into games whereas they might have been in the past. This is certainly better for the athletes today. However, over the past 40 years, how many NFL players have suffered concussions leading to brain damage?