In news that has a man-bites-dog feel to it, the government has released a study that shows that football players have a much lower death rate than men in the general population.
The research was done by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which is part of the Center for Disease Control. They studied 3,934 former NFL players who played at least five NFL seasons between 1959 and 1988, and found that 334 were deceased. Based on the general population they anticipated finding 625 deaths.
Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure, 61, was skeptical of the findings. "I think it's bogus. Just think of the guys who have died before they got into their 60s or 70s. Don't tell me we livepage.apple.comlive longer. I don't believe it."
Of course, many men die in their 50’s or earlier. You hear about it when a former football player dies. If the banker who lives on the other side of town passes away, most generally aren’t aware of it.
The results of the study seem even more surprising following the death, apparently by suicide, of Junior Seau last week. But dozens of men have taken their own lives in the past week but only the suicide of the football star made the news.
The study did not address the quality of life of the former players compared to the general population of men in terms of dealing with physical issues such as bad knees or mental ones such as short-term memory loss.