Did you know the average lifespan of an NFL lineman is only 52 years old? Almost 20 under the average male lifespan in America (of those who didn't die at birth). These numbers shocked me when I read them and made me ask myself, is it worth it? It is true that NFL players make a lot of money but most careers are only 3-4 years long and the long term effects are overwhelming to the majority of the players (Azpiri, 2008). Many ex-football players suffer from football related ailments such as dementia, heart disease, crippling arthritis, never healing muscle tears and brain damage. Brain damage to the point where living football players want to donate their brains to science to help future football players who may benefit from the research (Azpiri, 2008). Players like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are set for life and will always be able to afford the best quality health care even long after they retire but they make up the minority in the NFL. Hundreds of other NFL players are paid closer to the minimum ($300,000) and usually do not budget properly to ensure themselves financial stability after their playing days are over. Many end up working hard labor or minimum wage jobs when their playing days are over. The players union does fight for retired players so they can get some medical benefits as well as retirement income but it's not enough for everyone. The impending lockout has a lot to do with this subject as present players are fighting for their retired counterparts. Lets hope the owners and players can come to a resolution so we don't have to go back to the old days when football stars like Johnny Unitas ended up crippled and broke with no NFL compensation to help with his injuries.
Azpiri, J. (2008). Average lifespan of a football player is 52. Retrieved on 5/19/11 from