“No Indication of Elevated Suicide Risk” in NFL Retirees; So Does Football Not Cause Suicides?

A recent study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM) caught my eye last week. The study, from three researchers with the federal National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the CDC, found that retired NFL players had a 53% lower rate of suicide (95% confidence interval 18%-76%) versus a comparison group.

It’s an intriguing finding, but unfortunately the conclusions we can draw from it are limited. Specifically, the study cannot tell us whether professional football raises or lowers suicide rates. There are several reasons for this, but we’ll focus on a couple of the bigger ones below.

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Were There Fewer Concussions in the 2016 Preseason? A Study in Uncertainty and Trends

I almost named this blog “Probably Doubtful” since one of our cardinal reasoning sins as humans is overconfidence. We routinely don’t or improperly consider the uncertainty we have in anything, numbers included. Socrates wasn’t talking about modern statistics when he said “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing,” but we’d all probably lead better lives if we said this to ourselves once a day.

The headline figure is that concussions dropped from 83 in the 2015 preseason to 71 in the 2016 preseason. Let’s dig in a little more deeply and see what we think once we take our uncertainty into account.

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Oldies but Goodies: A Summary of My Prior Public Work

I alluded to this with links in the About page and the Intro post, but let me lay out for you some previous analytics work I’ve done with NFL injuries as a guest writer over at Football Outsiders. I’ve done a ton of other non-public work, but this is the work I am most proud of that I can link to.

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An Introduction to the NFL Injury Analytics Blog

Hello/howdy/hi/etc.,

The below information can also be found at the “About” page, which will be updated more regularly. Anyway, there’s two things to cover here: me (a human), and this blog (a blog). Let’s treat each issue separately, shall we?

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