New Study Shows How Dangerous Fighting Is

Published May 10, 2023 at 5:50 PM

Taking punches to the head is never good for your long-term health, a pretty obvious statement.

A study of former National Hockey League players shows that enforcers live significantly shorter lives than their peers.

Researchers at Columbia University in New York reached the conclusion after analyzing data from 6,039 NHL players from 1967 to last spring.

The study, found that enforcers died on average a decade younger than comparable peers who were drafted at the same rank, were of similar height and weight and played the same position.

The researchers did not find more deaths among the NHL enforcers than in the control group. "However, being an enforcer was associated with dying approximately 10 years earlier and more frequently of suicide and drug overdose than matched controls," the study reads. "Re-emphasis on player safety and improving quality of life after a hockey career should renew discussion to make fighting a game misconduct penalty in the NHL."
The differences in causes of death between the enforcers and their fellow players was striking. Two neurodegenerative disorder deaths, two drug overdoses, three suicides and four vehicular crashes were attributed to the 331 players identified as enforcer-fighters, compared to just one car crash death among the age-matched control group.

More than 90 per cent of the players in the study are still alive. But the difference was pronounced between the 26 players who have died in the enforcer groups and the 24 who have died in the control groups. Whereas the mean age of death for the fighters was 47.5, the figure for the control group was 57.7. Those who were heavily penalized died at 45.2 years or age, compared with a mean of 55.2 for the comparative group.

Fighting has been on a steady decline in the NHL but still remains apart of the game. CTE is very real and dangerous.
May 10   |   41 answers
New Study Shows How Dangerous Fighting Is

Do you think fighting should remain in the NHL?

Yes, helps police the game3380.5 %
No, the game is past fighting at this point49.8 %
Allow fights, but add harsher punishments49.8 %
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