The Economics and Risks of Football or
What's the average career? What's the average salary? What is the average injury profile? The average traumatic injury profile? The average profile for problems with joints, neck and spine? The average costs for that care -- for those who qualify for union benefits and those who don't (presumably because they didn't play long enough)? What's the type of post-football career these guys enjoy? How many former players will be able to live healthy, productive lives 10-20 years after leaving the game?
Frankly, the NFL Players' Association should commission a consultant to dig heavily into this issue so that they can advocate for better money and benefits in the next contract. Sure, the owners have a lot of leverage and the players probably won't walk out, but they might get the court of public opinion on their side if they put out statistics that shows that society and the NFL don't take good care of their gladiators post-career. In fact, it would be wise for the NFL itself to conduct this type of study so that it can get a handle on the problem and propose prophylactic measures that do the right thing.
There are a lof of metrics to measure, and there is a lot of data to collect, but it's well worth it. Football is a collision sport, and it hurts. People play hurt, players don't want to lose their jobs, and you have big people banging into each other. The public loves it, but the collisions cost those who play the game. Quality of life, careers, money, mobility. And from recent articles, it doesn't seem that the game or the players' union can afford to take care of the old-timers the way they should.
Do the study, gather the data, and then share it with the public. The data, I believe, won't be pretty, and it will reveal that for many players, the risks aren't worth the rewards.