Gregg Easterbrook shows that the NFL’s thoughts about the proper way to address concussions still haven’t changed:
The core problem is that football coaches at the high school, college and professional levels are rewarded for winning games but not penalized for allowing their players to be harmed. A coach who sits a player down out of concern for the player’s health may pay a price, if a game is lost. A coach who sends a concussed player onto the field may never be penalized in any way if that player suffers another concussion. Human beings respond to incentives, and right now the coaches’ incentive is to be irresponsible with players’ health.
Yes, the culture of football macho contributes to the problem: Many players ask to return to action when battling injury, including neurological harm. But coaches are the ones who make the decisions. They’re the adults in charge. And their incentive structure is all wrong.
Coaches receive money and accolades if they mistreat players and win; they are not disciplined, or seemingly even criticized, if players are harmed. Same for the front office in the NFL, the athletic department in college and the athletic director in high school. If the team loses, the fans and boosters are furious. If players suffer harm, there are no consequences whatsoever for the people making the decisions. And at the high school level, legally they are caring for children!