A disturbing new study has found that NFL players are more likely to die by suicide than the general population.
Since 2007, at least nine NFL players have committed suicide, according to a new report by the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
The report’s authors say that while the number of suicides among NFL players is lower than the general population, it’s still higher than what would be expected based on the size of the player pool.
The report’s authors say that the higher rate of suicide among NFL players may be due to the physical and mental demands of the sport. They also say that some players may be struggling with depression and other mental health issues that are not being properly addressed.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
History of NFL Players Taking Their Lives
In recent years, the number of NFL players taking their own lives has increased. In 2011, former San Diego Chargers star linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide, and in 2012, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend before driving to the team’s practice facility and shooting himself in front of then-head coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.
Since Seau’s death, at least five other NFL players have taken their own lives, including former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for murder at the time of his death.
The reasons why so many NFL players have killed themselves is not fully understood, but it is thought that the physical nature of the sport combined with the mental anguish of living in the public eye can take a toll on players’ mental health.
Reasons Why NFL Players May Take Their Lives
There are a number of reasons why NFL players may take their own lives. The physical toll of playing football can lead to serious injuries that may impact a player’s mental health. The stress of performing at a high level in the NFL can also be overwhelming for some players. Additionally, the lifestyle of an NFL player can be very demanding, leaving little time for friends and family. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
How Many NFL Players Have Committed Suicide?
Since 2007, at least 24 NFL players have died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, according to research by The Washington Post. That’s an average of about three suicides per year, and it does not count the number of ex-NFL players who have killed themselves.
In comparison, there are an average of about six military deaths from suicide each day, according to the Pentagon. That’s about 2,200 military suicides per year. NFL players make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, but their rate of suicide is nearly double that of the general population.
There are a number of possible explanations for why NFL players might be more likely to commit suicide than the general population. For one thing, they experience higher rates of depression and anxiety than the average person. They also tend to suffer from chronic pain and sleep disorders at higher rates than the general population. And NFL players who have suffered concussions may be at increased risk for suicide because of the brain damage that can result from such injuries.
It is not known how many NFL players have killed themselves, but it is believed to be a small percentage of the total number of players. Suicide is a tragedy that affects everyone, and the NFL is no different. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please seek help.