Jan 29, 2013 12:25 PM by NBC News
Professional football players die, on average, 20 years earlier than men who didn't play the sport, and the NFL players union wants to know why.
Harvard University has been given $100 million to conduct a study looking at ways to treat and prevent health problems among NFL athletes.
One-thousand retired players will participate in the study. Researchers will look at the effects of head trauma, torn ligaments and chronic use of painkillers.
The goal is to transform the health of active and retired players within five years.
Experts say the life expectancy of a professional football player is in the mid-to-late 50s.
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