Originally Posted by ollinger
^^ If loss of attention and glory were important factors, we'd expect to see high suicide rates in former players from other sports as well, and we don't. The suicide rate for current and ex baseball players is quite low, according to data I saw some years ago. I can't offhand recall an ex tennis pro committing suicide. Former players from those sports don't have the high rate of chronic pain seen in football players, don't have as aggressive personality traits, and don't have the cognitive issues from recurrent head trauma.
Unlike tennis or baseball, football is a very violent game and those who are big, or big and fast, and also very good at physical violence excel at football. That propensity to be violent would seem to be as big a factor in the suicide rate of ex-football players as concussions.
Do boxers have a statistically significant higher than average rate of suicide? They should have an ever higher rate of concussions in an even more violent sport. If the argument holds, they should have an even higher rate of suicide than football players.
Don't dentists have a high rate of suicide? What is the cause? We could argue that an obsession with flossing leads to suicide.
Do gun owners have a higher rate of suicide? Does criminality correlate with suicide rate? We are talking about the National Felon League after all. Most of these guys own weapons. And the rate of criminality in the NFL seems much higher than the societal average. I can see the concussions made me do it defense coming soon.
Most people who commit suicide have never played football. Most people who have mental illness (suicidal depression) or otherwise have never played football.
Seau had mental illness problems of some sort. He tried to drive his car off a cliff a few years back. That should have been everyone's first clue.
If the stats indicate someone who has had one or more serious concussions is much more likely to commit suicide than someone who has not maybe there is a correlation.
The NFL Players Union is angling for money and that is a lot of what is driving this argument. Concussions are a hazard of certain sports, just like knee injuries are in other sports, or arm problems are in tennis. No one forces anyone to play a certain sport. It is an individual choice. You play, you pay.
That said, the NFL should make sure they educate players as to the risks of injury, financial management, etc. Unfortunately, most of the players have been coddled all their lives due to their athletic abilities. They are taught that the normal rules don't apply to them and many seem dumber than rocks. Despite making huge sums for a number of years, something like 80% are broke within a few years of retirement. That is very telling.
I would never advise a kid to play organized football unless he is huge, fast and violent as hell because the sport seems to select for those attributes. Tennis is a much better game IMHO.