Findings of a new study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have revealed that suicide is less common among retired National Football League (NFL) players compared with men in the general population.

For the study, which is set to be published in the September print edition of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers looked at the suicide rate among 3,439 retired NFL players who played between the years 1959 and 1988.

Between 1979 and 2013, this group of retired players had 12 suicide deaths, which is less than half of the 25 that would be expected among their counterparts with the general U.S. population.

The findings of the study come at a time when there is heightened concern regarding the effects of brain trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Findings of a small study published last month showed that more than 40 percent of retired NFL players suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Individuals who are exposed to repeated head trauma are at increased risk for CTE with the neurodegenerative disease having been discovered in the brains of ex-NFL players. Wrestlers, boxers and war veterans are also known to be at risk for the condition.

CTE initially causes disorientation and headaches, but as the condition progresses, more serious symptoms emerge such as memory loss, poor judgement, tremors, depression and increased tendencies for suicide.

Suicides committed by former NFL stars, which include Dave Duerson, Junior Seau and Ray Easterling, who were all diagnosed with CTE, have raised concerns that other players may be at risk as well.

Researchers of the new study conducted the research to learn if football players who are at increased risk for concussions than the general population may also have higher tendencies for suicide.

Although the findings suggest that suicide is less common among former NFL players, the researchers said that further studies are still needed to support the results of the study.

"In studying this particular cohort of professional football players, our researchers did not find this to be the case; more studies are needed before further conclusions can be reached," said Douglas Trout, from CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

NIOSH started to investigate the deaths of former NFL players in 1994 prompted by a request from the NFL Players Association.

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