Conclusions, Implications, and Discussion

  • Jeffrey S. Markowitz
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Public Health book series (BRIEFSPUBLIC)


Internal results indicate that African-American race is a consistent predictor of mortality risk. While race is immutable, improving income and education could impact favorably on African-American mortality risk. Surprisingly, no NBA players are categorized as obese. The validity of BMI cutoffs as a mortality predictor is challenged within NBA players. Southern birthplace raises mortality risk for NFL, but not NBA, players. Since players born in the South are over-represented in both the NBA and especially the NFL, changes are required to help reduce this risk. There’s no indication of exposure-response between mortality and playing in the NBA or NFL. Length of playing career and mortality risk are inversely related in the NBA, but not the NFL, possibly reflecting an SES effect associated with player earnings. No explanation can be given for the excess risk of mortality within NBA centers and follow-up research with additional variables, including cause of death, is required. The between-league mortality differences uncovered in this study are modest and suspicious. When BMI is dropped from analyses, the between-league effects disappear.

Much like previous research of elite athletes, external comparisons between NBA and NFL players versus the general population document reduced mortality rates among players. Analyses of worldwide mortality rates help explain why the bar may not be set very high when the US general population is used as a comparison group for elite, world-class NBA and NFL athletes. Despite some unknown prevalence of CTE, mortality rates within NFL players is still significantly lower than the general population. Study limitations are discussed.


Social and demographic risk factors for mortality Health disparities and mortality Mortality comparisons between NBA and NFL players BMI and mortality risk BMI measurement and extreme height Mortality risk based on birthplace region Protective effect of years of playing experience Elite athletes and mortality CTE and mortality SES and health 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey S. Markowitz
    • 1
  1. 1.Health Data AnalyticsPrinceton JunctionUSA

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