The Long-Term Health Implications of an NFL Career 公开

Moynihan, Gabe (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/ws859f72g?locale=zh
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Abstract

American football has always been regarded as a high-impact, physical sport. Recently, more and more ex-NFL players have come forward with complaints about their health, blaming their deteriorating neurodegenerative state on the hard hits inherent to the game. This paper seeks to understand how NFL rule changes and the number of years played in the NFL affect a player's age of death. The paper computes the different causes of death by player position and race with the ultimate goal of better informing young athletes and incoming NFL players of the delayed health costs that can be expected from a football career.

Using data from Pro Football Reference, this paper finds that an additional year in the NFL increases the probability of dying from neurodegenerative causes by 5% relative to all other causes of death. The data further claims that positions with shorter career lengths, such as the running back, are less susceptible to early mortality and that positions, like the linebacker, which generate and experience the most impact per tackle, have a higher probability of dying from neurodegenerative causes. This paper also demonstrates the success that NFL rule changes and safety protocols have had in increasing players' lifetimes.

Given the results, the NFL should continue to devise new rules limiting the impact per tackle. The NFL should also look into alternative ways to improve player safety, such as upgraded helmet models and padding. The data also advises the NFL to reduce the number of games played per season; the change from a 14 to 16 game season in 1990 significantly increased the average NFL players' mortality rate.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

I. Introduction .................................................................................................2 II. Related Literature.........................................................................................6 III. Data ........................................................................................................12 IV. Empirical Methodology ................................................................................13 i. Limitations ..................................................................................................16 V. Results & Discussion ....................................................................................19 i. Linear Age of Death Regressions .....................................................................19 ii. Linear Cause of Death Regressions .................................................................24 iii. Multinomial Logit Regression .........................................................................27 VI. Conclusion ................................................................................................30 VII. References ...............................................................................................34 Figure 1: Coefficients on Control Variables ...........................................................40 Table 1: Number of Observations per Regression ..................................................41 Table 2: Data Summary of Categorical Variables ..................................................41 Table 3: Data Summary of Binary Variables .........................................................42 Table 4: Linear Age of Death Regression Excluding Salary ......................................43 Table 5: Linear Age of Death Regression Including Salary ......................................44 Table 6: Linear Age of Death Regression Excl. Salary & Race .................................45 Table 7: Linear Cause of Death Regressions 1-4 ..................................................46 Table 8: Linear Cause of Death Regressions 5-8 ..................................................47 Table 9: Multinomial Linear Regression: Cause of Death 1-4 .................................48 Table 10: Multinomial Linear Regression: Cause of Death 5-8 ...............................49 Table 11: Relative Risk Ratios on Cause of Death Outcomes 1-4 ............................50 Table 12: Relative Risk Ratios on Cause of Death Outcomes 5-8 ............................51 Table 13: Summary of Pred. Probabilities on Cause of Death ................................52 Table 14: Marginal Effects on Cause of Death Outcomes 1-4 .................................52 Table 15: Marginal Effects on Cause of Death Outcomes 5-8 .................................52

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