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Coaching in the NFL has an Impact on a Coach’s Health

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Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak recently announced his retirement due to health related issues. Photo: CNN

It has long been said that one of the most challenging jobs is being an NFL coach, especially a head coach. Over the years, many coaches have slept in the office on many occasions due to the long hours dealing with the many responsibilities of being an NFL coach. Some assistant coaches have even joined them at the office.

According to Mike Freeman of the Bleacher Report, during this season four NFL coaches were hospitalized. There was Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak with severe migraines, Jets head coach Todd Bowles with a kidney stone, Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer had eye surgery, and Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians suffered from chest pains. In addition, it was previously reported that Arians suffered from diverticulitis (inflammation of the colon). Arians’ health has been an issue throughout his career.

Don’t let me be one to mislead you into thinking that all four medical cases and health issues were directly related to coaching in the NFL and the demand and rigors that go with the job, but you can’t discount the fact that they are all NFL coaches.  It has also been pointed out that several lower level NFL coaches have faced serious health issues league wide. Freeman estimated the number was between 15-20 coaches. It’s important to note that general reports as to their health are not readily provided because they are not in the spotlight and it’s not an NFL requirement to report the health of coaches.

Freeman has written extensively and for decades about the effects of coaching stress. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/17/sports/pro-football-for-many-nfl-coaches-pressure-is-toughest-opponent.html

According to Freeman, today coaches say the additional pressure exists due to 24/7 access of social media.

This is not to say that coaches in other sports and at other levels are not subject to health issues because they most certainly are; the stress and effects on them are a cost of getting the job done.

Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak has decided to resign due to his health concerns.

The following information contributed to the writing of this article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2684827-mike-freemans-10-point-stance-in-the-nfl-bad-owners-make-for-bad-franchises

By Fred J. Cromartie, Ed.D.

Dr. Fred J. Cromartie is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at cromarti@ussa.edu.

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