An Indiana University study found that elite college athletes -- typically the picture of health and vitality -- often struggle to stay active in later years, facing limitations to their day-to-day activities in middle age that could be a result of injuries during their athletic career.
Lead investigator Janet Simon, a doctoral candidate in the IU School of Public
Health-Bloomington's Department of Kinesiology, said researchers have long
known that compared to non-athletes, college athletes experience more severe
injuries -- and long-term effects of those injuries. She was surprised,
however, with her findings that the former elite athletes also scored worse on
depression, fatigue and sleep scales.
Her study -- which focused on Division I athletes, considered the most
competitive college athletes -- was published in the American Journal of Sports
"Division I athletes may sacrifice their future health-related quality of
life for their brief athletic career in college," Simon said. "Also,
when comparing former Division I athletes, non-athletes who were physically
active in college and the general U.S. population, it appears that, in rank
order of the three groups, non-athletes who were recreationally active in
college had better health-related quality of life scores, followed by the
general U.S. population. This may be because former Division I athletes sustain
more injuries and possibly more severe injuries due to the rigor of their
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