Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Keeping Football Injury Information Secret

Football is a violent game. The number and severity of concussions that players receive during games and the long term impact on former players has become a hot issue. The NFL is under fire to deal with the issue and there are lots of legal issues involved. The NFL is funding research aimed at avoiding future concussions. One way is to keep track of the impacts a player receives during a game, season and career. Tom Goldman from NPR interviewed Kevin Guskiewicz, a scientist studying the issue.
He's keen on getting accelerometers into NFL helmets, as is now done in some college and high school programs. These tracking devices measure impacts and, says Guskiewicz, could help players modify behavior on the field and reduce concussions. But so far, he says, there's disagreement between players who want the information...

GUSKIEWICZ: I want to know how many times my head is impacted. I want to know if perhaps I should be winding down my career.

GOLDMAN: And those who don't, because the data might end up in the wrong hands.

GUSKIEWICZ: For instance, the general manager or the owner of a team that's going to say, oh, wow. I had 1,500 impacts this season, and my contract's up next year. And so that's going to come back to hurt me in a contract negotiation.

The risk of serious injury varies across players and over a player's career. If an injury was a certain consequence, just about everyone - players, teams, and fans - would want the player to retire. Incentives are aligned. But such things are never certain and knowledge of increased risk may be acceptable for a player even if it is not for the team. So to avoid revealing this information, some players want to keep from collecting the information in the first place. Moreover, if they are the only ones to refuse to have accelerometers, teams can infer that the player believes he is at greater risk. This leads the player to want to exclude accelerometers from all players' helmets. The contracting consequences for a few may be limiting implementation for many.

1 comment:

  1. Secrets

    “ Adverse selection arises from the hidden information about the type of individual a company is dealing with. Moral hazard arises from hidden actions, past and or future” ( Froeb at el, page 240)

    Keeping football injury information a secret is a moral hazard, however in the major league, it’s necessary.
    "This industry is a secret society and part of the culture is not to discuss injuries. Players don’t want to let other players know about injuries for fear of showing weakness that the opponent players will attack. Players and coaches say they just don't talk about what's hurting, partly because they don't want to seem weak in a sport where they hit each other for a living, But mostly, they don't want to let the other team know where to aim.” (www.chron.com)

    Injured athletes create a competitive disadvantage to their entire team, either way by keep silent or acknowledged. Football is a really dangerous game that put a hard demand on the body even when all safety precautions are followed.

    As more and more bizarre incidents take place in society –there will be less options for secrecy. Personal injuries, mental health issues and bad habits that effect others should be identified before its too late. Better to be proactive than reactive in todays society.


    Froeb/McCann/Ward/Shor: Managerial Economics, A Problem Solving Approach 3rd Edition, Ohio: Southwestern Cengage Learning.