Monday, March 10, 2014

College Athletes May Struggle to Stay Active Later in Life

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 Medicine.

"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 sport."

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See additional coverage from NPR, The Huffington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and The Examiner.

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