College Football Players May Be At Risk of High Blood Pressure

Study found 14 percent of freshman linemen had hypertension at the end of one season

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It could be more informative, Goldman said, to use a different sport, like baseball, as the comparison -- or to compare football players to non-athlete students.

Hurst agreed that the findings raise more questions than answers. "I think these results are hypothesis-generating rather than definitive," he said.

According to Hurst, the take-away is that young football players are not "immune" to health issues just because they are athletes.

"It is important that they eat a healthy diet and are screened by medical professionals for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar," he said.

Baggish said the bottom line is that linemen should have their blood pressure checked before and after the playing season. That's especially important if they gain weight during the season or if a parent has high blood pressure; both of those factors were linked to blood pressure spikes in the study.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on high blood pressure in young athletes.

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