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28% of Retired NFL Players with Get Early Onset Alzheimer’s - Greensboro, NC

- Monday, September 15, 2014

In a staggering admission by the National Football League (NFL), it was revealed that 28% of retired players would develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This statement comes on the heels of years of suits and accusations from former players saying the NFL was not providing adequate health assistance for work-related injuries. For years, the NFL refuted these claims and refused to take responsibility for the long-term health effects directly related to the hard-hitting contact sport.

The findings were presented by a group of actuaries that were hired by the NFL in their defense against over 5,000 ex-players looking for settlement of their health issues. It was found that 28% of all retired players would develop Alzheimer’s disease at an earlier age than the general public. In addition, more players would be subject to other neurocognitive diseases as compared to the general public and their age ranges. This admission by the league comes at the end of a prolonged period of consistent denials and claims that they should not be responsible.

The findings will result in an increase in funding to be made available for these players and these specific injuries. The NFL had an existing fund of $675 million to be attributed to these health issues, and they will be paying out roughly $900 million to those players who are found to suffer from early Alzheimer’s and neurocognitive disease. Spokespeople for the league are now owning up to what was previously refuted time and time again. They have admitted that they play a part in these diseases developing earlier and that they must continue to take care of their ex-players.

The past decades have seen an increase in medical advancement and the examination of the effects of contact sports on player’s brains. In a sport where concussions are prevalent, leagues have taken new measures to ensure that player safety is a primary concern for both current and ex-players. Concussion testing has taken on new steps and is being treated as a severe issue that requires as much attention and latitude as broken bones and torn ligaments. This finding and admission by the nation’s biggest organized sporting league is another step in the direction of care being taken to concussions and neurocognitive disease. The NFL is not the only sport where concussions are prevalent, but their example will be a striking point for continued research, attention, and prevention of brain-related injuries.