I learned several days ago that Ty Pozzobon, a professional bull rider from British Columbia, Canada, committed suicide at the mere age of twenty-five.
Ty’s mother, Leanne, gave a public statement shortly after his body was found inside his Merritt, B.C. home: “It’s important that people know about the implications of head injures as the result of concussion.” A friend of the family explained that she was unsure of how many concussions Ty had sustained whilst riding bulls, but she knew he had numerous concussions (cbc.ca).
I wanted to do some research regarding the correlation that exists between trauma to the brain and depression, so I consulted msktc.org. The website explains that depression is a common concurrence amongst persons who have sustained brain trauma, for example concussions, and approximately half of all persons who have experienced brain trauma are impacted by depression within one year of their injury. Approximately two-thirds of all individuals who have experienced brain trauma encounter depression within seven years of their initial injury.
There are two main factors that have the ability to trigger depression in an individual who has suffered brain trauma. The first is physical changes in the brain due to the trauma, and the second is an emotional response to said trauma. There also exists the possibility of unrelated factors to the head injury initiating the development of depression, for example genetics or other issues that existed prior to the trauma with the injury to the brain triggering the depression.
Professional Bull Riding is undoubtedly an incredibly rough and dangerous sport, however concussions are not specific to this sport alone. It is apparent from Ty Pozzobon’s actions that more preventative measures need to be taken when it comes to contact sports and that athletes need further attention and aid when they experience head trauma. Ty’s suicide is a tragic indication of what needs to be done in regards to contact sports and head injuries, and it is my hope that athletes and persons alike who have experienced head trauma are able to receive adequate medical attention in order to treat their injury.