Tag Archives: Dan Wheldon

Risk, free markets and free will

October 17, 2011

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It is interesting to note that in the last couple of days, National Football League Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu sustained a concussion in a game with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jay Beagle of the National Hockey League Washington Capitals was knocked out cold (colloquialism for being rendered unconscious) from a punch at the fists of Arron Asham of the Pittsburgh Penguins, a 27 year old man died 300 m from the finish line at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and 2005 IndyCar champion Dan Wheldon died in a crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The point here isn’t to chronicle the injuries and deaths in sport but to rhetorically ask – in connecting the dots between these sports which each possess varying degrees of inherent risk and its athletes who consent to those risks ordinarily inherent in the sport – despite the different outcomes from brain injuries to fatalities, is acknowledgement and assumption of those risks enough or should more be done?

Or are these athletes participating on their own free will, motivated by vanity and insecurity (apologies to Simple Minds), and benefiting from what the market will bear? Or are they being exploited by commercial forces that regard them as collateral damage in their pursuit of the bottom line?

Just asking.

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