Upstate News

June 29, 2000
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Despite on-the-job stresses, umpiring in major leagues does not pose a health risk, say State University of New York researchers

The sedentary lifestyle of Major League Baseball umpires and the stressful environment in which they work do not pose a health risk to these men in blue.

A new study, published in the May issue of “The Physician and Sports Medicine,” found that umpiring in the major leagues is not associated with a shortened life expectancy.

“We were somewhat surprised by our findings,” said study lead author Richard Cohen, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. “I was expecting that major league umpires would have shorter life spans given the hostile, stressful environment they work in and the sedentary, often lonely, lifestyle inherent in the job.”

Cohen has been umpiring for 24 years in the youth baseball/softball program in Hamilton, N.Y., and he is a former high school varsity umpire. His research team was assembled in 1996. That year, umpire John McSherry collapsed and died behind home plate during the season opener in Cincinnati. Also that year, umpire Eric Gregg, who weighed over 300 pounds, decided to take a leave of absence to get in better physical shape.

For the study, Cohen obtained information on 195 major league umpires

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