The National Football League (NFL) is without a doubt one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. But it is also one of the most physically demanding professional sports leagues.
NFL careers often short-lived
Football players are expected to give their all on the field, and as a result, their careers are often short-lived. But just how much shorter is the lifespan of an NFL player compared to the average lifespan in the United States?
Let’s look at a couple of stats: the average lifespan in the United States is 78.8 years, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the average lifespan of an NFL player is much shorter. A study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that the average lifespan of an NFL player is just 58 years. That’s a difference of over 20 years! The study also found that NFL players are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and other causes of death than the general population.
This could be due to the physical demands of the sport, as well as the lifestyle choices of players. The physical demands of the sport can take a toll on players’ bodies. The constant pounding of the body can lead to chronic injuries, such as concussions and other head trauma. This can lead to long-term health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline.
Risky behavior NFL Players
The lifestyle choices of NFL players can also have an impact on their lifespan. Many players are known to engage in risky behaviors, such as excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and unprotected sex. These behaviors can lead to serious health problems, such as liver disease and HIV/AIDS. The shorter lifespan of NFL players is a cause for concern.
Other study suggests longer lifespan
However, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also investigated the lifespan of NFL players and looked at the life expectancy of NFL players. They investigated the expectancy rate of former NFL players, who played at least five season in the National Football League between 1959 and 1988 and found out that in the meantime 334 football players died. Based on the life expectancy rate countrywide, this number should have been 625. Therefore the study of the NIOSH suggests that former NFL players live longer than the average male without NFL background.
NFL playing days over
Whichever report is right, it is essential that the league continues to take steps to improve player safety, like they did in the past with banning certain tackling techniques and introducing concussion protocols. By optimizing NFL players safety, they will be able to enjoy a long and healthy life after their playing days are over.