NFL and Dementia: Numbers

NFL and Dementia: Numbers September 18, 2014


Playing in the NFL brings fame, fortune …and a dramatically higher risk of suffering from serious brain diseases.

Eye-catching NFL player data released for the first time on Friday suggests that nearly 30% of former NFL players will end up developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia across their lifetime, placing them at a significantly higher risk than the general population.

The actuarial data was calculated as part of the NFL’s ongoing concussion lawsuit, as thousands of players suing the league alleged that the NFL hid the risks of head trauma, and the NFL attempted to estimate its liability.

According to the report by the Analysis Research and Planning Corporation, an actuarial firm that was commissioned by the players:

  • About 14% of all former players will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; and
  • Another 14% will develop moderate dementia.

The actuarial analysis also suggested that former NFL players stand about twice the risk as the general population to suffer from early-onset Alzheimer’s, ALS, Parkinson’s or dementia.

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