The dangers of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurological disease have been well known for many years. The disease has been been be linked to brain trauma as well as concussions.
A recent study has found that concussions may also be associated with an increased long-term risk of suicide. Experts have been aware that severe trauma to the brain raises the risk of suicide, but this study focuses on how concussions may impact overall suicide risk.
The study was published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal and examined the long-term risk of suicide if individuals had ever suffered a concussion -- even a single one.
In the U.S., the suicide rate is about 12 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study, which was conducted in Ontario, gathered information on 200,000 individuals who had a history of concussion over a 20-year period, from 1992 to 2012.
Within the group there were 667 suicides, which is equivalent to 31 deaths per 100,000 people, or three times higher than the suicide rate in the overall population.
The study also found that individuals who had a concussion on a weekend had an even higher risk of suicide. Their rate of suicide was 39 per 100,000 people. Each subsequent concussion after the first adds to suicide risk.
According to ABC News the project's authors said that while their findings support past research on how concussions can have lasting effects on physiology, mood and behavior, further research is needed.
One lead researcher in the study, Dr. Donald Redelmeier, said that their findings emphasized that it's important for doctors to be aware of a patient's concussion history.
Redelmeier continued by saying he is hopeful that his research will encourage doctors to take a second look at patients who had a concussion, even if the concussion occurred years ago.