Current health-related
quality of life in former national athletic association division I collision
athletes compared with contact and limited-contact athletes.

Simon J,
Docherty CL. J Athl Training. 2016. 51(4). Epub Ahead of Print

Take Home Message: Former collegiate athletes who
participated in collision sports (primarily football) reported lower quality of
life when compared to contact or limited contact athletes.

Sports participation
relates to both positive (e.g., reduced cardiovascular disease) and negative (e.g.,
pain, psychological concerns) long-term outcomes. Clarifying the relationship
between sport participation and long-term quality of life can help clinicians
understand how to help athletes transition into retirement and better educate
athletes with regards to long-term outcomes after injury. Therefore, Simon and
Docherty completed a cross-sectional study to measure health-related quality of
life among former NCAA Division 1 collision, contact and limited-contact
athletes. A total of 374 former athletes from a NCAA Division 1 school
participated (40 to 65 years old, 124 collision, 136 contact, and 114 limited
contact, 62% of those who received the survey). All athletes completed a health
history questionnaire, demographic questionnaire, and a health-related quality
of life instrument (Short Form 36). Overall, 116 former collision athletes
participated in football. Thirty percent of athletes reported participating in
professional athletics and 78% reported an injury severe enough to cause them
to miss playing time. Forty-five athletes (12%) reported a career-ending
injury. The authors found that former collision athletes reported lower quality
of life in mental and physical health compared with contact and limited-contact
athletes. The former collision athletes also had lower health-related quality
of life compared with age-matched US population data, especially concerning the
physical health subscales. Former contact and limited contact athletes had
similar health-related quality of life compared with age-matched US population
data and reported better quality of life in a few domains.

Overall, the authors
found that former athletes who participated in collision sports (94% former football
players) are more likely to have pain and lower quality of life when compared with
other athletes and the general population. The authors anticipated this result and
thought it is most likely due to the high amount of physical trauma that these
athletes endure during their sport. One limitation of the current study was
that 30% of respondents reported playing sports professionally. Future research
should account for the length of time an athlete participated in a sport over
their lifetime and explore how injury severity influences these outcomes.
Regardless, the current study further builds a case that clinicians need to
educate athletes about their long-term health and factors that may impede their
long-term wellbeing. Furthermore, clinicians and athletic departments need to develop
and implement wellness programs and programs to help athletes transition out of
sport. In a setting where a patient is often focused on today, sports medicine
clinicians have an obligation to their patients to think about the patients’
long-term health tomorrow.

for Discussion
: Do you counsel your athletes on the long-term implications
of their athletic participation? If so, what strategies have you found
particularly advantageous?

Written by: Kyle Harris
Reviewed by:  Jeffrey Driban

Related Posts:

Simon J, & Docherty CL (2016). Current Health-Related Quality of Life in Former National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Collision Athletes Compared With Contact and Limited-Contact Athletes. Journal of Athletic Training PMID: 26959296