78.7 years. That is the life expectancy of an American man. However, for men who’ve played professional football, that number drops to just 55 years.
Along with a much shorter life expectancy, former football players are also five times as likely to suffer from some form of mental impairment, with Alzheimer’s, ALS, and CTE being the most common diagnoses. The symptoms of these diseases range from mild memory problems to complete loss of motor skills and the ability to live independently.
This timeline shows the lifespans of 53 former NFL players, all of whom have shown signs or were diagnosed with some form of brain disease. You can see the length of the player’s career, position they played, and the year that they started showing symptoms of mental impairment.