Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Orthop J Sports Med. 2014 Aug 12;2(8):2325967114544107. doi: 10.1177/2325967114544107. eCollection 2014 Aug.

Current Physical and Mental Health of Former Collegiate Athletes.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
2
Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Center for the Study of Retired Athletes, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
3
Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. ; Injury Prevention Research Center, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is a dearth of research on the current health of former collegiate athletes.

PURPOSE:

To examine the current health and related correlates in a cohort of former collegiate athletes who played in a diverse range of men's and women's sports with various levels of contact.

STUDY DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

METHODS:

Former collegiate athletes (N = 3657) were asked to complete an online questionnaire addressing sports history, medical history, and demographics. The questionnaire also included the Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey (VR-12), which yielded 2 composite scores for physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) health. The VR-12 PCS and MCS scores were compared with published US normative data using t tests and analyses of variance.

RESULTS:

Mean PCS and MCS scores of the 797 respondents with complete data (21.9% of target sample; average, 14.5 years since last played collegiate sport) were 53.0 ± 6.1 and 51.7 ± 9.4, respectively. When stratified by age and sex, PCS and MCS scores were similar to normative scores in the United States. Lower PCS scores were associated with sustaining ≥3 concussions, playing in collision sports during college, and sustaining a career-ending injury (all, P < .001). No association was found between concussion and MCS scores (P = .06). Among former collegiate athletes, prevalent medical conditions included anxiety (16.2%), hypercholesterolemia/high cholesterol (10.6%), and depression (10.4%). Additionally, 5.8% screened positive for alcohol dependence, and 5.8% screened positive for disordered eating (eg, binge eating, purging). These findings were more prevalent than those reported by the World Health Organization as representative of the US population. Conversely, there was a lower prevalence of depression, bipolar disorders, and attention deficit disorder, with or without hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD), than in the World Health Organization US population data sample.

CONCLUSION:

Former collegiate athletes appear similar to the general US population on many aspects of mental and physical health. However, observed health deficits associated with previous sports injuries warrant ongoing monitoring of the health and well-being of former collegiate athletes.

KEYWORDS:

epidemiology; injury; mental health; physical health; traumatic brain injury

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center