[Disclaimer: I am not involved in this, and the views expressed here are entirely my own.]
Concussions and Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) have been the dominant subject of concern in the sports world recently, and for good reason, but I would like to highlight an often overlooked and more general problem. Our athletes are rewarded for pushing their bodies to the brink to accomplish majestic feats, requiring physical perfection. We laud playing through injuries to succeed at the pinnacle of sport, or recovering from injuries at super human speeds, only to return those bodies to the brutal punishment of competition. With these pressures, Concussions and PEDs can be viewed as mere symptoms of a culture that runs from the fans to the teams to the players themselves, asking them to sacrifice their bodies, sometimes, to the detriment of their long-term health. In this new age of awareness about player health, we should be asking: Are athletes making properly informed rational choices about their health? Or are there situations where neither the players nor their teams are properly incentivized to protect long-term player health due to the culture described above?
Some recent stories have exemplified the culture: