This Sept. 28, 2018 photo shows batting helmets in a rack before a Major League Baseball game in New York. According to study published Friday, May 24, 2019, NFL players may be more likely to die from brain diseases and heart problems than MLB players but the reasons are unclear. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Deaths from brain, heart problems higher for NFL than MLB

May 24, 2019 - 11:46 am

CHICAGO (AP) — NFL players may be more likely to die from brain diseases and heart problems than Major League Baseball players, but the reasons are unclear.

That's according to study published Friday involving 6,100 professional athletes who died between 1979 through 2013.

Repeated head blows have been linked with a wasting brain disease in football players, who are generally bigger than baseball players. That girth can contribute to heart problems. But the study lacks data on family history and lifestyles that also affect disease risks.

Some studies have suggested NFL players may live longer than the general population. But the researchers say comparing athletes from two elite sports provides a better perspective on risks that may be inherent to football or baseball or to the athletes who play those sports.

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