The Health Challenges of NFL Legend Franco Harris

The Health Challenges of NFL Legend Franco Harris

Franco Harris is an NFL legend who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks during his career. Throughout his time playing football, Harris faced a number of health challenges that have become increasingly common among NFL players. In this article, we will discuss some of those challenges and the impact they have had on Harris’ life.

Concussions and Brain Injury

One of the most significant health challenges that Harris faced as a football player was dealing with concussions and the long-term effects of brain injury. Concussions are a serious concern for football players, as the repeated blows to the head can cause damage to the brain over time. In fact, Harris reported experiencing at least one concussion during his career, which may have contributed to health issues later in life.

Joint Pain and Arthritis

As a running back, Harris took hard hits and endured a lot of wear and tear on his joints. Over time, this can lead to joint pain and arthritis, which can be both painful and debilitating. Harris has publicly spoken about experiencing joint pain as a result of his football career, and it is a common issue for many retired NFL players.

Weight Gain and Diabetes

Retired NFL players often struggle with weight gain and related health issues, including diabetes. Harris is no exception, and has spoken out about his efforts to manage his weight and stay healthy. As he has aged, Harris has had to make lifestyle changes to keep his health in check, including staying active and eating a balanced diet.

Heart Health and Hypertension

Another common health challenge for retired NFL players is dealing with heart health issues, including hypertension. This can be a result of the high level of physical exertion required to play football at a professional level, as well as the stresses and pressures that come with the sport. Harris has worked hard to maintain his heart health over the years, and has advocated for other athletes to do the same.


Franco Harris may be a football legend, but he is also a reminder of the toll that professional sports can take on players’ health. From concussions and brain injury to joint pain and arthritis, retired NFL players face a number of challenges that can impact their quality of life long after their playing days are over. Despite these challenges, however, Harris remains an advocate for healthy living and encourages others to prioritize their own health and wellbeing.

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