The NFL has new findings on the suicide risks due to head trauma on former players. According to a government study, the answer to whether NFL players are at risk of suicide from constant head injuries is ‘no.’It was reported that researchers from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) studied suicide deaths from retired NFL players. The data that was analyzed contained 3,439 retirees that played Football for at least five seasons, 1959-1988. The suicide rate from these men was compared to the general population.

Since the suicide death of famous NFL player Junior Seau in 2012, the concern is that suicide is caused by football-related concussions.

It was also believed that it was a trend within former players who have sustained numerous concussions. It was believed that these injuries caused chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. The chronic condition is known for brain degeneration from repeated head trauma, and can only be confirmed during a brain autopsy.

What the studies found

  • The NFL player suicide rate was lower than the suicide rate of men from the general population.
  • From 1979 to 2013, men from a certain group of the general population had 25 suicides compared to 12 from the NFL group.
  • Despite having a lower rate of suicides among NFL players compared to groups of men from the general population, NFL players still have health problems in their later years, mostly from chronic pain.
  • Players with chronic pain have substance abuse problems that lead to marital and family stress and depression.

Other findings

According to Dr.

Douglas Trout, deputy director of the Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and field Studies at NIOSH, stated that the cause of deaths of these former football players by committing suicide is not caused by CTE. He also added that more studies have to be made to confirm the new finding.

The director of the Neuropsychology Outcome Assessment laboratory, in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, at Harvard Medical School, Grant Iverson, told the CBS News that the trend of suicides on former NFL players linked to concussions is not based on scientific studies.

Iverson added that the press has been informing the public with the fact that football head injuries lead to risks of suicide with no scientific research or background. Basically, a scientific explanation was never used to explain why suicides are occurring among former NFL players. However, the media, according to Iverson, insisted that it was due to CTE from constant head concussions brought on by the game of football.

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