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Bankruptcy a big issue for professional football players

Football fans across the U.S. look up to the professional athletes we watch every week during football season. However, people need to remember that, besides their superior athletic skills, many players are just like everyone else. They can face the same challenges and obstacles in life as we do, and it is no different when it comes to money.

Professional athletes may have the potential to make millions of dollars in their short careers, but they are about as likely as the rest of the population in their age bracket to file for bankruptcy protection.

According to recent research, about one in six NFL players end up filing for bankruptcy protection within two years of leaving the league. This translates to about 2 percent of the players, which is about the same rate as other people in the same age group as the players.

It can be easy to blame overspending or poor financial planning, but that would be a serious over-simplification. There are often many different sources of financial strain that contribute to overwhelming debt and financial strain and they may be unavoidable, whether a person is a famous athlete or not.

Sudden and dramatic changes in income can be devastating to any person. For football players, an injury can permanently end a career; for the rest of us, an injury or illness can result in huge, unexpected medical bills. Athletes may get dropped or not picked up for a new season; non-athletes may get fired and find it very difficult to find a new job. Additionally, kids, divorce and mortgages can all prove to be much more expensive than people realize.

Whether you earn thousands or millions of dollars in your job, the fact is that money problems can affect everyone. If you are struggling with debt and may be dealing with aggressive collections agents, foreclosure or unmanageable credit card debts, you should understand that you are not alone and you do have options for debt relief. Discussing your situation with an attorney can help you identify available solutions and work toward a better financial future.

Source: Washington Post, "One in six NFL players file for bankruptcy," Peter Whoriskey, April 15, 2015

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