The economic cost of contact sports

Posted on
Sunday, October 1, 2017 - 12:48pm

By Ray C. Fair and Christopher Champa (pdf), here is the abstract:

Injury rates in twelve U.S. men’s collegiate sports are examined in this paper. The twelve sports ranked by overall injury rate are wrestling, football, ice hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, tennis, baseball, indoor track, cross country, outdoor track, and swimming. The first six sports will be called “contact” sports, and the next five will be called “non-contact.” Swimming is treated separately because it has many fewer injuries. Injury rates in the contact sports are considerably higher than they are in the non-contact sports and they are on average more severe. Estimates are presented of the injury savings that would result if the contact sports were changed to have injury rates similar to the rates in the non-contact sports. The estimated savings are 49,600 fewer injuries per year and 5,990 fewer injury years per year. The estimated dollar value of these savings is between about 0.5 and 1.5 billion per year. About half of this is from football. Section 7 speculates on how the contact sports might be changed to have their injury rates be similar to those in the non-contact sports.

Here is NYT coverage of the piece, and an excerpt:

When he goes to Stanford football games, he [Roger Noll] said, one of the things he notices is the television production people on the sideline walking around with parabolic microphones.

“I’ve asked them why they do that,” he said. “They are catering to their audience. The audience wants to hear heads crack.”

A bit like how they soup up Planet Earth II with all kinds of phony noises for the animal movement.

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