An On-Field NFL Death: We Stand Corrected

From a reader named Eric Geyer:

I was listening to one of your first podcasts, “The Dangers of Safety.” In the podcast, you say “There hasn’t been a single on-field death in the NFL.”

This isn’t completely true — there has been one, I remember it from when I was a kid. A player for the Detroit Lions named Chuck Hughes collapsed and died in the field in 1971. This doesn’t invalidate your point from the story — his death was not related to a football injury, but was caused by a heart attack.

Anyway, in case no other overzealous pedant hadn’t pointed this out, I thought you would like to know 🙂

Thanks, Eric.

Michael Ward

Not death exactly, but I was in the stadium for the preseason game when Jack Tatum ran into Darryl Stingley and paralyzed him from the chest down. When I went off to remind myself of the facts (memory is frail), I discovered these guys are already dead. As are most of the Raiders I used to watch so avidly. Not a sport for those intending to become old men.


He didnt die on the field. He had a heart attack on the field near the near the end of the game but died an hour later after the game had ended.