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American football players age a decade faster than the general population


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A survey was performed on nearly 3,000 former National Football League (NFL) players aged 25-59 years.

Compared with the general people, NFL players aged nearly a decade faster and suffered from age-related conditions as early as their twenties.

Further studies to understand the biological mechanisms behind this observed premature aging phenomenon.

“Heightened vigilance can lead to earlier diagnoses and timelier intervention to prevent or dramatically slow the pace of age-related illness,” - Rachel Grashow, senior author.

Former football players were more likely to report that they’d been diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis.

Younger players aged 25-29 reported significantly higher numbers of hypertension and diabetes diagnoses.

“Professional football players might live as long as men in the general population, but those years could be filled with disability and infirmity,” Grashow said.

Linemen playing the sport, who experience more contact during games than non-linemen, had notably shorter health spans.

Research by Harvard University published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Further studies to examine the phenomenon for age-related illnesses among former players

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British Journal of Sports Medicine

The journal of sports and exercise medicine is published semi-monthly and co-owned with the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine

Harvard University

Private Ivy League research university in Massachusetts

Rachel Grashow

Research scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

American football players age a decade faster than the general population