Researchers in one study measured vitamin D levels in 89 National Football League players during training camp and found 81 percent were abnormally low. Twenty-seven were deficient, with levels less than 20 ng/mL; and 45 were low, with 20 to 31.9 ng/mL. Only 17 players had at least 32 ng/mL of vitamin D.
Players with muscle injuries who had missed at least one practice or game in the prior season had much lower levels of vitamin D than non-injured players. This was the only significant difference between them, doctors said. While low levels of vitamin D may not have caused the injuries, the study “highlights a potential problem,” study authors concluded.
African Americans tend to make far less vitamin D from sunlight than whites, and 93 percent of the black players had low levels compared to 31 percent for white players.