- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why do football players die early? That’s the topic of research for a $100 million Harvard University study, to be funded by the National Football League Players Association.

 The study – which will uncover the reasons football players die, on average, 20 years earlier than those in other vocations – will include 1,000 retired NFL players, Reuters reports.

Specialists will look at brain traumas, torn knee ligaments, arthritic joins and expose to pain and pain medication, the Reuters story continues.

 As an interesting aside, some dispute football players even die earlier.


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health tracked roughly 7,000 players and concluded, in a 1994 report, that “NFL retirees were dying at about half the rate of their American male peers,” according to a May 2012 SI.com report.

Graphic describes what happens to the brain of a football player to cause a concussion
Graphic describes what happens to the brain of a football player to ... more >

“In other words, NFL players, in general, live longer.” In January 2012, a followup NIOSH report found similarly, SI.com reported.

Regardless, the union-funded study will span 10 years – but the stated goal is to improve players’ health within five years, Reuters says.

Players have filed more than 200 lawsuits against the NFL in recent years, due to concussions and other health problems, The Washington Times reports – nearly double the amount reported by other media, including UPI.