Study Finds Retired NFL Players Have Enlarged Aortas

Nov 9, 2017

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic find that retired NFL players have enlarged aortas compared to non-athletes.
Credit ELVERT BARNES

A new study from the Cleveland Clinic finds that a group of retired NFL players has aortas that are larger than a non-athletic control group.

Dermot Phelan, the director of the sports cardiology department at the Cleveland Clinic, says this is the first time any professional athlete has been associated with an enlarged aorta.


“NFL athletes appear to have enlarged aortas compared to sedentary controls, but we still have a lot to learn as to whether this means that they’re at higher risk of any future complication.”

Phelan says the study was originally designed to look at the overall health of athletes. Researchers then found that 30 percent of the NFL players had enlarged aortas.

Phelan believes more studies are needed to determine if the same trend is seen in other professional athletes.