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This is an ABC News report discussing the death of former National Football League (NFL) linebacker Junior Seau, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on May 2, 2012. As noted in the segment, the former player’s passing has led to an even closer examination of the “legacy of the punishment players take on the field.” While the report says “the science of traumatic brain injuries [TBIs] is still in its early stages,” the truth is that depression is common among those who sustain severe head injuries.

However, it is important to note that TBIs and depression are far from being limited to just professional football players. TBIs have been referred to as the “signature wound” of military personnel returning from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year, with falls being the leading cause of these injuries in the United States. In fact, falls account for half of the TBIs among children aged 14 years and younger, and 61 percent of TBIs among adults aged 65 years and older. The CDC says crashes and traffic-related incidents are the second leading cause of TBI, but result in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths.

A TBI can result in significant irreversible changes, but the good news is that depression is not one of them—depression can be helped. Friends and family of TBI victims need to offer support and encourage these individuals to get help to deal with their depression. The Brain Industry Association of Florida (BIAF) is one esteemed local organization that offers a list of support groups available for TBI victims to find such resources.

Again, these injuries are not limited to certain professions or certain age groups. Anybody can be at risk for sustaining a TBI at any time, but the important lesson we can all take from Seau’s passing is that if someone you care about has suffered an severe head injury that is incurable, it is important for these victims to understand that the depression that may result can be treated. Victims may simply be too scared or too ashamed to seek help, but we can help loved ones with TBI overcome their depression simply by demonstrating how much we care.

Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A. – Orlando personal injury attorneys

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Dr Larry Komer
    Dr Larry Komer

    One of the links between head injury and depressions is often missed and that is a reduction in normal hormone levels. The pituitary gland is responsible for control ofproduction of cortisol, thyroid hormone, growth hormone and testosterone in men and estrogen in women. 56% of people who sustain a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion will show decreased pituitary function within 48 hours. Low testosterone in men and low estrogen in women is certainly linked with depression and this responds well to hormone replacement.

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