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NFL heart profile good, with a caveat

Football players have higher blood pressure on average

By
6:11pm, May 26, 2009

Professional football players have pretty good cardiovascular scores despite being really big, researchers report. But the gridiron warriors have higher blood pressure than regular guys, on average, according to a study in the May 27 Journal of the American Medical Association.

The National Football League requested a study on players’ cardiovascular risks in light of the fact that players have bulked up dramatically in recent decades. Whereas a 240-pound man could routinely be found on a defensive line 30 years ago, that slot is now filled by players weighing 280 pounds or more.

The health effect of a lot of extra weight has been unclear because studies seeking to understand the trade-off between extra poundage and exceptional fitness in football players have been small, says Andrew Tucker, a sports medicine physician at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.

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