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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