Relationship between depression and concussion among amateur and elite martial artists : a systematic review and exploratory empirical study

Nome do/a aluno/a: Raquel Melo dos Santos Moraes

Orientador/a: Alberto José Filgueiras Gonçalves

Ano: 2019

Banca: Prof. Dr. Alberto Filgueiras (Orientador) Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro – UERJ; Prof. Dr. Pedro Pires Universidade Federal Fluminense – UFF; Prof. Dr. Bruno Galvão Pontíficia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro – PUC-Rio.

Resumo: Concussion is defined as a physical head trauma that causes lesions on the central nervous system originated by its impact to the skull. Its relationship to psychological changes was not clear until 2005 when Dr. Bennett Omalu first discovered the link between uncommon behaviors described by families and friends of a former football player and microlesions in his brain. Dr. Omalu’s first hypothesis was that concussions were accumulated throughout the career of this athlete leading to consequent modifications on his natural behaviors. Much have evolved in this field of research in the last 14 years: concussion seems to be more frequent among athletes from contact ball sports such as football, rugby and soccer when compared to non-contact sports; it is also common among martial artists, however, there is fewer evidence that associates head traumas and psychological pathologies, specifically depression, within the fighters population. The present master’s dissertation aims to shed some light over the association between concussion and depression among amateur and elite martial artists. To do so, two studies were conducted: a systematic review and an exploratory empirical study. The systematic review was developed using PRISMA guidelines and retrieved the last 10 years of empirical evidence. It concluded that football is the most studied sport, whereas depression and anxiety were the two most related psychopathologies linked to concussion history. Interestingly, there was no study that addressed specifically martial artists. This finding led to this dissertation’s second study. Concussion history, depression scores and demographic variables were collected from 25 amateur and 25 elite martial artists. A linear discriminant analysis was performed. Results showed that depression and concussion history were highly related to elite martial arts practice. It led to the conclusion that elite martial artists, due to number of head traumas, are more sensitive and exposed to concussion and depression; competitive environment increases risk of these both variables. The two studies presented in this master’s dissertation showed that concussion history and depression are linked, and it is rather common among martial artists. It strengthens the need of head protection and methods of monitoring brain traumas in competitive martial arts.

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