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Episode Info:

In this week’s episode we're talking about new research comparing the health of athletes in the National Football League and Major League Baseball. The study looked at 6,000 athletes between the years of 1979 and 2013. During that period, there were 517 deaths among NFL players and 431 deaths among MLB players, translating into a 26% higher mortality rate among football players compared with baseball players. The findings showed that while NFL players died of neurodegenerative diseases at a higher rate than MLB players, both groups of athletes were more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than brain diseases. The study was led by Marc Weisskopf, Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Epidemiology and Physiology at the Harvard Chan School. The research comes amid increasing concerns over the effects of repeated head trauma on the health of NFL players. And while the study did show a difference in death rates, it’s still unclear exactly what’s driving that disparity—and how to address it. We sat down with Weisskopf to discuss the research and the unanswered questions he’s hoping to answer in the future.

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