For a study, researchers sought to determine the prevalence of self-reported health issues among former collegiate football players compared to a general population sample of men and standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) among former college football players. The health survey was completed by 216 living players (median age, 67 years; IQR, 63-70 years) and compared to 638 HRS participants (median age, 66 years; IQR, 63-70 years). Former players had a higher incidence of cognitive impairment (10 [5%] vs 8 [1%]; P=.02), sinus inflammation (22 [10%] vs 22 [4%]; P=.001), cardiovascular disease (70 [33%] vs 128 [20%]; P=.001), high cholesterol (111 [52%] vs 182 [29%]; P=.001), and liquor use (185 [86%] vs 489 [77%]; P=.02) and a lower prevalence of diabetes (24 [11%] vs 146 [23%]; P=.001). All-cause mortality (SMR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.42-0.67) was significantly lower in the ND cohort than in the general population, as were mortality from heart (SMR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.39-0.99), circulatory (SMR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.03-0.83), respiratory (SMR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.00-0.70), and digestive system (SMR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.00-0.74) disorders; lung cancer (SMR, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.05-0.77); and violence (SMR, 0.10; 95% CI, 0.00-0.58) were comparatively lower in the ND cohort than in the general population. The ND cohort had a considerably greater mortality rate from the brain and other nervous system malignancies (SMR, 3.82; 95% CI, 1.04-9.77). Although point estimates for all neurodegenerative causes (SMR, 1.42; 95% CI, 0.29-4.18), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SMR, 2.93; 95% CI, 0.36-10.59), and Parkinson’s disease (SMR, 2.07; 95% CI, 0.05-11.55) were higher, the difference was not statistically significant. Both good and negative health consequences were reported in this cohort analysis of former collegiate football players. With over 800,000 former collegiate players living in the United States, more study looks to be needed to give stakeholders direction on maximizing characteristics that improve health outcomes while minimizing ones that might also increase the risk of morbidity and mortality later in life.

Source:jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2791303