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NFL Players Not at Increased Heart Risk
Date:5/26/2009

at the former players were more likely to remain physically active than other men of their age group, had a lower incidence of diabetes, and had the same incidence of atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty plaques that narrow coronary arteries.

But life is not all roses for former pro football players. A 2007 study of 3,377 retired members of the NFL Players Association found that nearly 15 percent of them reported moderate to severe depression. While that is about the incidence in the general population, half of those respondents said they suffered from chronic pain.

That study was timely because it came shortly after the suicide of Andre Waters, a former star safety in the NFL who was suffering from brain damage caused by multiple concussions during a 12-year career.

The NFL is aware of the concussion issue, said Greg Aiello, a spokesman for the league. "We have an ongoing study on the long-term effects of concussion," Aiello said. "Meanwhile, we emphasize prevention and proper treatment of concussions among our current players."

More information

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease are listed by the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Andrew M. Tucker, M.D., medical director, sports medicine, Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore; Neil Coplan, M.D., director, section of clinical cardiology, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Greg Aiello, spokesman, National Football League; May 27, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association


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