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High number of test match appearances linked to longer life

Does occupational success influence longevity among England test cricketers?

BMJ

The more test matches a cricketer plays, the longer he is likely to live, suggests research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

But captaining the team did not extend lifespan, the findings show.

The researcher wanted to find out if longevity is influenced by a successful career, after taking account of social background, which is known to influence the chances of premature death.

He analysed the length of the lifespan of 418 test match cricketers, playing for England, who were born between 1827 and 1941. Sixty nine were alive at the time of the study.

He found strong associations between survival and year of birth, with perhaps unsurprisingly, players born more recently living longer than those born earlier.

The records differentiated between amateur "gentlemen" and professional players, so providing an indicator of social background.

Amateur "gentlemen" players came from privileged backgrounds, and they lived longer than professional players, who came from working class backgrounds.

Success was measured by the number of test matches in which a player had appeared, with higher numbers of appearances associated with a longer life.

Thirteen per cent of the players had taken part in 25 or more test matches.

A similar proportion had captained the England side at least once. But although this might be considered the pinnacle of success for a cricketer, it had no impact on longevity.

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