The organization behind the common assertion that NFL players commit suicide at six times the national average has conceded that the statistic lacks substantiation and has removed the number from its website. The action follows an investigative report by Breitbart Sports disputing the widely-referenced claim.
“The suicide rate for active and retired football players is six times greater than the national average,” claimed GamesOver.org. The statistic found its way into Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy’s memoir Quiet Strength, a 2012 New York Times op-ed by Frank Bruni, a 2011 Washington Post sports piece by Sally Jenkins, and scores of other articles that fueled a perception that linked playing football with committing suicide.
A comprehensive 2012 study that the NFL Players Association petitioned the federal government to conduct found a rate of suicide in 3,439 pension-vested NFL retirees at less than half of what they expected based on prevailing societal rates.