- Rare, but predictable in a statistical sense, ie x% of people will claim for y amount, and actuarial tables say so.
- Expensive to compensate. This is why we need to spread the risk.
- Where's it's hard to separate risk levels of different people. If not you get adverse selection, where the average cost discourages the safer people, leaving the less safe.
With the recent revelations about brain damage from tackle football, the actuaries will rightly decide that their old tables are systematically biased. More people will be allowed to claim that initially believed from the old evidence. Furthermore, you can't just up the premium to compensate, you don't know how bad it might get. There was that one study of old NFL players' brain that concluded all of them (!) had damage to their brains. You also don't have any idea what the courts will award, so you really have no clue how much to ask for.
You also have to ask whether general health insurance will start asking people whether they play football. (I'm not familiar with the US system). Much like smoking, it might turn out to be a predictable high risk group, so that people in it will have to pay prohibitively more for coverage, or not get covered at all.
So if all the youth players can't get insurance, you have to wonder what will happen to the professional game.
Perhaps there's some major rule change necessary. I'm not sure how I'd change it to be similar but safer, something about the game seems to require tackling to be football.
You can still get injured with this, but the odds of head injury should go way down.
Whether this version of the game would hold the interest of fans would remain to be seen.
Or one team could be given swords and the other tridents, and give the fans what they really want :-)
Despite the more technical nature of sport it would bring, you’re right in your final analysis–this is our modern day gladiatorial contest, we want hits.
For the simple reason that, no matter how few, enough athletes are paid way too much money, and gain substantial celebrity for having, what amounts to, professionalized fun.
Why should I slog my life away in a salt mine, when they get a free ride, VIP status, attractive spouses of their choice, and worldwide recognition and adulation?
Stay in school, kids. It’s just like work, so get used to it now. Not so fast! Maybe you can hitchike your way to fame and fortune, by playing kickball or dodgeball or freeze tag or hide and go seek! Millions of dollars and desireable sexual partners (inclusive of any gender!) can be yours, if you choose goofing off for a living!
But hey, maybe millennials want a kinder, gentler, baby soft world.
I doubt it. The truth is, there’s a motive from upper eschelon and high command to eliminate football. It has nothing to do with what people want.
Try watching football's close relative rugby (popular in much of the world), or hockey (popular in the northeastern US and Canada among other places), baseball (still popular nationwide even if not as much as football), basketball (ditto), or professional wrestling (more entertainment than actual sport but still athletic).
Depending on your particular preferences, those are all pretty fun... And don't tell hockey fans that you think their athletes' body checks and damaged teeth are a baby sport...
Some of those sports have significant physical danger too, but based on the evidence available to date, American tackle football is currently the most dangerous major sport played.
Why would flag football be in any way different?
I don't think this is necessary at all. You need insurers and the insured to have a similar understanding of their risk level. If you can accurately price it, it should be cheap for lower risk people and more expensive for riskier people.
This doesn't achieve social goals in the context of health insurance, but that shows more about how insurance isn't a great model for healthcare, rather than limitations of what insurance markets can work.
Is it a problem that the helmet etc allow harder tackles? Much like boxing gloves allow harder punches?
It is too early to know what will be the long-term effect of those concussions on their health, but at least they're still alive, as opposed to the 2 young French players who died this season after being hit while playing (there are probably others, but living in France I've heard the most about those 2).
Having been forced into retirement from Rugby several years ago, following a couple of wrist injuries, I still miss playing a lot. However, I don't think that I would be comfortable with the health risks that today's Rugby presents.
That said, in reading about this for the last decade or so when it became a top news item, its become apparent that most brain injury news stories don't report on them very well and lump 2 drastically different kinds of brain injury into the same bucket. Concussions and CTE. The former is caused by a single traumatic event that can leave the brain damaged after it. The latter is probably a repetitive injury, lots of small events that add up to brain damage.
Gridiron football has the opportunity for both. Big shots on open field runners frequently lead to concussions, but for CTE the most dangerous position may be offensive linemen who infrequently take those high speed impacts that get so much coverage. Instead on every play they are taking repeated small blows to the head.
This is how soccer gets lumped in. There is at least circumstantial evidence that the arial game in soccer and potentially even header practice can lead to CTE at fairly high incidence rates. Given the lack of studies its unclear what the level of danger is.
Hockey on the other hand has the opposite danger. Repeated small head hits are rarer than in football but the incidence of traumatic concussion causing hits is similar if not higher.
American football is the first sport to have major studies around brain injury and those are fairly early days. As the other sports have more studies, and as the studies get more data, I suspect we will find that all contact sports put you at risk of brain injury and that football and rugby have higher incidence of CTE than the others. But thats just guess work right now.
Football on the other hand... it’s pretty much impossible to take the CTE risk away without ending up with another sport (rugby, Aussie rules, whatever).
IMO the long term viability of US football is not good.
Why anyone would want to mess with the brain is beyond me.
After all, handling the ball (referring to both arms and hands) is already banned and banning the head would just neatly slot in there and could use the same rules. (I.e. just add “or head” to this sentence in the rules of the game “Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm.”).
(If you ban headers for health reasons you should, however, probably also ban the goalkeeper from doing headers, even though the goalkeeper is allowed to handle the ball under certain circumstances.)
I do not know what other rule changes would be necessary, but, as I said, I wouldn’t expect the game to be radically different and unrecognisable. (Are there implications for corners and free kicks would be my main question. I could imagine that those are suddenly worth less if headers are disallowed, since in those situations the defenders have time to get in place and space and – as a direct consequence – time are consequently tight. Always having to get the ball to the ground or at least on a level where you can kick it somehow will slow the game down, giving defenders more time to react.) But I also know that soccer (associations, clubs, fans) can be very conservative …
A desperate false equivalence to defend the right to exist of a brutal sport that doesn't belong to a modern compassionate world.
Basically, the NFL should be fine, but even they may be self-insuring head trauma nowadays.
For youth and school contact football programs, they are in jeopardy. Insurers are increasing premiums and/or requesting waivers for all neurological injuries. Some schools are already folding their teams. Probably with no end in sight. Where will the next generation of players come from?
I'm actually perfectly okay with a sport going extinct and becoming some weird historical artifact because the world got wise to how very harmful it is to the participants in an irreversible and serious manner.
If you play football then surely you accept certain risks onto yourself?
In direct response to your question, yes, there is an ability to do dangerous things in the NFL/football, but the NFL had previously withheld/ actively withheld information about the risks from the players. This is different than the ability to knowingly consent to the danger.
Played an extreme sport (like skydiving or winggliding or snowboarding or mountain climbing or anything else) and got injured? Tough, you decided to do that, and you and your family should stop something looking for someone to blame/sue because of it.
Same goes for any other hobby, whether it's fishing or caving or climbing the outside of buildings for Instagram photos. You took a risk, and if it didn't pay off, tough luck. You made that decision.
And this especially goes for anything illegal. Oh sure, there are exceptions for legal activities if some party did do something wrong that caused it to become more dangerous than expected (like say, telling kids to play American football without padding and helmets on ice) then maybe there may be a case that someone is to 'blame'. But if you break the law and get injured doing so, well tough luck. You did something illegal and it worked out horribly, what you'd expect?
For instance, I distinctly recall cases of burglars suing because they got injured robbing some property or trespassing. That's ridiculous, and the whole idea should be immediately tossed out with 'well if you didn't break into a property you weren't supposed to be in, you wouldn't have got injured'.
People should take responsibility for their own mistakes and decisions, and accept that sometimes things don't work out well and that it's merely part of life.
Same would be true of something like football, but things change when you have an organization making money off of it that has known and may have known of the dangers for a long time and has made a concerted effort to hide the dangers.
I think the long term dangers of football are still not widely known or acknowledged.
For good reason, we don't give children the full scope of authority to assume personal risks that we allow to adults.
TFA is largely about insurance for youth leagues. Children aren't capable of assessing and accepting certain risks. That's why we don't let them drive automobiles on the highway.
It's interesting to imagine football going that way. The college game would probably have to disappear. (which it should do anyway because institutions of learning should not concentrate most of their energies on frivolous contests between indentured servants) High school teams might be replaced by AAU teams run by shady coaches who could never be sued. I'm not sure where they would play, however. A football field is a big investment that is always going to be attached to some deep pockets. It's not clear that football could survive in the same way that boxing survives.
HN isn't just about tech, startups, and the ilk. :)
Rugby doesn't have as many issues it seems