Accurate and comprehensive sports statistics that include player demographics and personal information on NBA and NFL players is now available at several Internet-sites. Increasingly, this data has been used as the basis of quality research efforts. Team roster information is available for all former NBA and NFL players that includes date of birth, height, weight and position. In addition, vital status data, including date of death within deceased players, are accessible. These and several other variables were entered into a database for the cohort of players who appeared on an NBA (n = 1398) or NFL (n = 7708) team roster anytime between 1960 and 1986.
All-cause mortality and its risk factors will be examined in this retrospective/historical cohort study. The exposure is playing participation in the NBA or NFL during the study period. Two measures of mortality will be analyzed in internal comparisons that use a vital status end-date of January 1, 2017: vital status, and time to death. A third mortality outcome, life expectancy, will be examined in multivariate analyses. The analysis of vital status, i.e., alive or dead, will be stratified by 8 year of birth categories. Controlling for year of birth, within-NBA and within-NFL players, as well as between-league survival analyses will be conducted that examine each of the potential mortality risk factor variables, first separately and then simultaneously. External analyses will compare mortality rates between NBA and NFL players versus the US general population using standardized mortality ratios.
KeywordsSports statistics and health research Retrospective cohort study Historical cohort study National Football League (NFL) players and mortality National Basketball Association (NBA) players and mortality Survival analysis of former NBA and NFL players
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