A recent study revealed that pro baseball players live approximately 24% longer than an average American male. The research was done using the statistics of 10 500 pro players. Not only are they getting older, but they are also much older than your usual pro league player while still being active in the game. Often these players can be in their late forties or early fifties and even play pro league.
One of the senior researchers in the study, Marc Weisskopf, is a professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School in Public Health. His field of expertize is environmental epidemiology and physiology. According to the Weisskopf, baseball players also suffer from a much lower rate of death due to neurodegenerative diseases than their pro colleagues in the National Football League. These diseases include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. The initial explanation for this is because baseball players do suffer far fewer head injuries than football players. This is, however, a finding which they plan to investigate further.
The study analyzed the statistics of players that passed away already and debuted from 1906 until 2006. The data revealed that it isn’t only neurodegenerative diseases which are occurring far less under baseball players, but also other serious diseases. In comparison to the normal American male, a pro baseball player’s chances of dying from cancer are 20% less, heart disease or strokes is 19% less, respiratory tract diseases are at significant 33% less, diabetes is 46% less, and the suicide rate is 59% lower.
The study also finds a relationship between the numbers of years playing and the increase in good years. This can be contributed to the active lifestyles which the players maintain as well as their healthy eating habits, which increases their general health.
In comparison to these statistics, it did reveal that National Football League players are twice as likely than the ordinary American male to die from heart-related diseases and three times more likely to suffer neurodegenerative diseases.
The True Value of the Study
According to Dr Robert Glatter who is an emergency physician at the New York City, Lenox Hill Hospital, the real value of the study is to be able to make suggestions to improve the health and longevity of not only sports heroes but all men in general. He believes that the results of the study are not necessarily due to the kind of sport which these men play, but much sooner because they have managed to find a great combination of an active lifestyle, healthy eating and no excess strain, neither physically nor mentally.
Another interesting finding is also the fact that being part of a team and playing team sports had a significant impact on the suicide rate. I am thus reflecting the real emotional and mental value of being part of a team. Being connected to a higher network surely has some significant benefits.