Football is by far America’s favorite sport to watch, and has been since the 60s. Football is also far less healthy than most sports. For example, while Italian soccer players live longer than most folks, US football players
Let's also recognize the difference between life span and expectancy. Life span is how long people actually lived based on numbers after death. Life expectancy is how long experts think people will live. It's an estimate based on gathering data and forming opinions. My research suggests the experts could be a tad off and perhaps are raising concern for the general good of focusing on better health (e.g. less obesity). I also think life span records of NFL players over recent decades should be taken into account when concluding life expectancy. Granted, my methods of research are far simpler and far cheaper than those of the NIOSH, for example. I'm not a doctor or even a nutrition expert, but check out some data and make your own decisions.
I am an offensive linemen at a D-1 program and let me just say football is a tough sport and we like it. Research shows relating to the head injuries, offensive and defensive linemen hitting is like getting in a 35mph car wreck. Linemen life expectancy is so much lower than that of an average male is due to the fact that we take an enormous beating day in and day out. It is not solely because we are 320 lbs. I eat healthy 6 out of 7 days a week, so not all of eat out andf eat buffets everyday. We live and play with injuries that will send many people to the hospital (I.e. Broken toes, fingers, torn ligaments, strained muscles etc). We choose to play this game because we love it and speaking for myself I like the pain I endure.
The population of NFL veterans is more more male and more black than the general U.S. population -- those two factors alone will drag down the baseline life expectancy for football players a lot.
Any theories about why Americans love football while the rest of the world loves the presumably less destructive soccer?
Actually, American football came out of rugby. This is probably the better comparison. It would be interesting to see comparisons of the life expectancies ot rugby players to their respective national averages.
Lost in all this is the fact that football players are paid significantly less than athletes in other sports on average. The players league aught to demand higher wages as a result of job hazard. I also think college players should be paid.
With that said, there are a lot of selection bias issues going on here. First, football players are generally larger than your average man (even the smaller players); larger people are more prone to various health conditions. Secondly, many players are black, and black people are known to have lower life expectancies. All that granted, it should be pretty obvious football is a physically demanding and damaging sport, it would be no surprise that life expectancies are lower for football players than say a yoga instructor.
Pro-wrestling, though not a sport, has even uglier life expectancies.
Football damages brains. I don't know if this causes shorter lifespan. Do boxers have shorter lifespans?
In mice, dietary or genetic alterations that make the mice grow larger make their lives shorter. Genetic alterations, or caloric restriction, that makes them smaller, including making them produce fewer growth hormones, make them live longer.
Football linemen are gigantic, and probably ALL of them take growth hormones, making them larger still, and likely damaging their hearts.
You should write an OB post about attitudes towards steroids, btw. Football players and other athletes take a wide variety of performance enhancing drugs, several of which can easily kill them. Growth hormone enlarges the heart, disrupting its timing; and the increased body mass increases load on the heart. Vicoden, which football players and bodybuilders take for pain, kills people every year. Drugs routinely used for performance enhancement that can easily kill users, where the fatal dose for one person can be the same as the effective dose for another person, include EPO, insulin, and a thermogenic drug that I forget the name of. The most-dangerous sports drug is a diuretic that bodybuilders use to make them look lean, which I forget the name of, which continues to kill bodybuilders, yet is never demonized in the press.
Yet people always focus on steroids. The most dangerous aspect of steroids is that oral steroids are toxic to the kidney and liver, in the same way that aspirin is. Injectable steroids may be the only performance-enhancing drug that have not been demonstrated to be dangerous in reasonable doses. (Neither have they been demonstrated to be safe for long-term use. They just haven't been studied much.)
I should have included the following:
One hundred stars died during the study, which showed slightly better life expectancy for rockers in the United States than Europe. The average age of death for Americans was 42, whereas their European cousins only made it to 35, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Rock stars seem to die young also.
CBS News correspondent Larry Miller reports a new study, which charted the lives of 1,050 American and European music artists between 1965 and 2005, has found they are more than twice as likely to die young than the general population.
I have a theory that for some people lots of money makes them die younger. IMO this even shows up in the fact that parts of Scotland have a lower male life expectancy than people in 3rd world countries. Make one wonder if a welfare state allows one to not work and drink oneself to death.
Since the majority of footballer players are African-American men, why isn't the African-American male death rate the standard used to compare against the pro football death rate?
And have you recorded every death of a pro football player, or just some?
Umm. It's all the steroids and other shit they put into their bodies to get into and stay in the pro ranks. Duh.
So what do these guys do in Europe?
Rugby union is considered a more masculine sport than soccer or basketball. It's fairly popular in Europe, and not nearly as dangerous as American football.
Your mixing up the dangers of professional football and high school football. They might as well be different sports.
Cecil, if that's true it definitely only applies to division-1 players. Again, this is an insignificant fraction of the total football playing population in the United States.
I cannot understand how people so consistently underestimate the value to men–especially young men (insert picture of Tiger Woods) but really all men (insert picture of Norman Mailer and almost any male Senator)–of getting more and better women.
This is sarcasm right? I don't think Tiger Wood's family is a very happy place right now... oh but perhaps they'll be stronger and better for it - if it doesn't kill you... survival of the fittest etc
Boxing, too, is known to cause brain damage...
I can't find a cite now, but I remember reading at one point that college football players are generally up to 50 pounds heavier than NFL players, and that they need to slim down for speed reasons when they make the pro leagues.