It would likely not be hard for most Pennsylvanians to come up with a list
of most dangerous occupations. Football player might not make it on first
pass. Although everyone knows that professional football has its risks,
it isn't likely to make the list of industries associated withworkplace injuries. Part of the reason may be that, because it's a sport, many don't
view it is an occupation. Another may be that the extent of the risks
involved in football has not been fully realized.
That may be changing, especially with the release of a new study on neurodegenerative
disorders. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has
been following a group 3,500 football players since the early 1990s. The
football players are retired but had been in the NFL at some point between
1959 and 1988.
In addition to surveying living retired players, the authors decided to
study the autopsy results of 334 of dead players in an effort to look
for the impact of neurodegenerative diseases. They found that a statistically
significant number of them had Alzheimer's disease, Lou Gehrig's
disease or Parkinson's disease.
Based on the compilation of data, the study authors concluded that football
players are three times more likely than the general population to have
a neurodegenerative disease. And they said that the risk is four times
greater that they will suffer specifically from Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's
The NFL insists that player safety is a top priority. However, currently
more than 2,000 players are suing the NFL. They are claiming that the
league misrepresented the issues associated with playing and misled the
players regarding the risks associated with concussions.
It is sometimes difficult to think of playing a sport as a career. But
for these professional athletes, it is their job. Individuals injured
on the job are entitled to compensation for the expenses that occur because
of a workplace accident. This compensation is most often obtained through
a worker's compensation insurance claim. Sometimes, the need to go
to court and the help of an experienced legal professional is required.
Source: CNN, "Football players more likely to develop neurodegenerative disease, study finds," Nadia Kounang, Sept. 6, 2012