I n May, the National Football League shared some surprising news with the same group of retired players that had spent the past two years launching lawsuits against their former employer: The vast majority of them are living longer than the general population.
The study — initially commissioned by the NFL in , released in , and then updated in — quickly became national news , as it arrived just days after the suicide of former Chargers star Junior Seau. Researchers noted that NFL players were substantially less likely to suffer cancer-related deaths; the study found just 85 players passed away from the cause, against an expectation of Meanwhile, players also had healthier hearts, as players died of cardiovascular disease when a total of Those two findings both highlight the limitations in the NIOSH study and emphasize why additional research is needed.
It seems likely that increased availability to health care would mean that ex-players could receive more frequent cancer screenings, which would lead to early detections and more successful treatments.
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While football players have consistently outweighed baseball counterparts by about 35 pounds over the past 50 years, their athletic backgrounds, earnings potential, and access to health care are far more similar than the relationship between professional athletes and the general population. Our study, then, will examine whether football players have experienced a mortality rate that is significantly different from their athletic brethren in baseball. The null hypothesis is that there is no significant difference between the mortality rates of players over the timeline in question.
As a result, we 2 had to re-compile it using publicly available databases and other sources. That meant we had to make some notable changes that might change our findings. They included the following:. For the purposes of this study, we defined such a season to be one in which the player participated in five or more games during the given year. The websites Pro-Football-Reference. We cross-referenced these databases against each other to make one list, and then compared that to the historical player pages at NFL.
In those cases where there was a discrepancy between an NFL. In all but four cases, we were able to locate a reliable source of death information for the player in question. Those four players without reliable information available were excluded from the study. Player Information We had to record identifying characteristics for each player, including his height, weight, date of birth, and games played during each of his respective seasons at the professional level.
We used data from Pro-Football-Reference. Our work is current as of August 1, , and naturally, additional players have died during that nearly five-year stretch.
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So though their study compared causes of death with the general population, ours will instead focus on the percentage of players who passed away in each sport. We also had to build a similar structure for baseball data that emulated the football research. That meant we ran into similar concerns, such as:. Creating an Appropriate Player Pool We needed to analyze baseball players with five years of experience or more from through If a player had five such seasons between and , he was then included as a member of the player pool in our study.
To verify deaths within our player pool, we cross-checked their information against work by SABR researcher Bill Lee, which we found both in his book The Baseball Necrology and on his website, thebbnlive. We verified statistical and physical information against the Baseball-Reference.
Unavailability of Cause of Deaths While The Baseball Necrology lists cause of death for a number of players, widespread data on the topic was unavailable. As a result, we did not consider the cause of death for baseball players.
After identifying the players in each group and researching their status, we were able to calculate the mortality rate for each group under the prescribed time frame. They are very, very nice! I highly recommend them for your party! Thank you so much! Mark was easy to work with and very accommodating.
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