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How Old Is Too Old To Be a Professional Athlete? Part 1

Anyone who follows sports knows that most players are young.  That is true no matter what sport you follow, whether we are talking about football, NFL, basketball, baseball, or anything else.  Not only that, but when you do see older players still on the field, they are often greeted with a fair amount of derision.  That is true even when they are playing well.  And when they play badly, their age is the first thing to blame.

 

This is a topic you may have to think about if you are handicapping a game or a specific player.  How old is too old?  What are the ways in which performance suffers as players age?  And is there any silver lining you can look for, any ways in which age might actually result in better game play?

 

First off, it is worth taking a moment to think about how many “older” athletes actually are out there.  More than 40 professional football players have continued to play into their 40s.  And that’s just NFL football alone.  So while older players certainly do not comprise a majority, it is not exactly rare to see a player who is squarely in the middle-aged territory.

 

How old is too old?  A player’s viability should be assessed according to his fitness and skills, not necessarily his age.  On the whole, yes, getting older is a physical drawback for any athlete, but that does not mean there have not been athletes who played better at 38 than many of their younger counterparts did at 28—or 18. 

 

In the next part of this series How Old Is Too Old To Be a Professional Athlete? Part 2, I will talk about some of the different ways, both positive and negative, that age can impact the performance and ability of an athlete in any sport.

 

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