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What Percentage of Retired Players Receive NFL Disability Benefits?

Posted December 6th, 2007 by RetiredPlayers

An earlier post addressed the number of retired NFL players eligible to apply for NFL disability benefits, we now move on to address the number of retired NFL players actually receiving NFL disability benefits.

The Honorable Linda Sanchez is the Chairwoman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.  On June 26, 2007, in her opening statement for the oversight hearing on the National Football League’s system for compensating retired NFL players, Chairwoman Sanchez noted “half of all players retire because of injury, sixty percent of players suffer a concussion, at least one quarter of players suffer multiple concussions, and nearly two-thirds suffer an injury serious enough to sideline them for at least half of a football season.”  Chairwoman Sanchez also added, “The NFL is considered to be the most brutal major American professional sports league.”

With the NFL considered “the most brutal major American professional sports league”, there seems to be a remarkably low number of players receiving NFL disability benefits.   According to page six of the NFLPA “White Paper”, only 317 players currently receive any type of NFL disability benefit.  NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw states “there are over 13,000 retired NFL players alive today.” Using these two numbers we can calculate that only 2 percent of retired NFL players receive any type of NFL disability benefit.

  • On December 4, 2007, ESPN reporter Peter Keating penned an article titled, “Congress questions NFL record-keeping on disabled players”.  The article updates the progress of the Congressional Research Service report.  “Neither the NFL nor the NFLPA keeps data on players who retire due to injury, a simple fact that I find amazing,” Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., who chairs the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, told ESPN.com. “Sometimes you don’t keep track of something when you don’t want to know what the answers are.”

One Response to “What Percentage of Retired Players Receive NFL Disability Benefits?”


  1. […] try to sneak this by a player’s union that is already pretty stressed about the fact that half of all players retire because of injuries, and two extra full-intensity games are likely to shorten a player’s shelf life and increase […]



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