Player positions in the NBA and the NFL are completely different. Hence, position was excluded from multivariate analyses in the previous chapter. While total number of career years played represents a quantitative measure of exposure to basketball and football, player position is more qualitative and varying degrees of risk to future health may be associated with different positions.
In the NBA there are five positions including two types of guards and forwards as well as centers. Physical size tends to increase with each of these positions respectively. In the NFL, players are categorized into six position types namely offensive and defensive linemen, offensive and defensive backs, receivers and kickers. Offensive and defensive linemen are generally the tallest and heaviest players.
In within-NBA multivariate analyses that control for other significant variables, playing the guard position is protective against mortality, and playing center is a significant risk factor. Four position types are significant in within-NFL analyses that control only for year of birth. This includes two positions types that are risk factors for mortality, i.e., offensive and defensive linemen, and two that are protective, i.e., receivers and defensive backs. However, when each of the significant position types are included in within-NFL multivariate analyses that contain the four other risk factor variables, none of them remain significant. This attenuation may be due to the relationship between position and body size. Additional research that includes cause of death data is required to help better understand unexpected findings related to playing center in the NBA.
KeywordsPlayer position and mortality Risk of mortality based on player position Height and mortality risk Attenuation of player position effects in the NFL Independent risk of mortality within centers in the NBA
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