Thomas Hargrove of the Scripps Howard News Service tracked the deaths of 3,850 pro football players to show that athletes of the National Football League are dying young at an alarming rate and many of the players are succumbing to ailments typically related to weight. The heaviest athletes are more than twice as likely to die before their 50th birthday than their teammates. "Most of the 130 players born since 1955 who have died were among the heaviest athletes in sports history, according to the study. One-fifth died of heart diseases, and 77 were so overweight that doctors would have classified them as obese, the study found." Twenty years ago, it was rare for a player to weigh 300 pounds. But more than 500 players were listed at that weight or more on NFL training-camp rosters this summer.