Perhaps the U.S. government can play a role in protecting NFL players.
This idea was posited Thursday by York University’s Tracy Supruniuk during a session at the annual conference for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport in New Orleans. The federal government regulates workplace safety through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The rate of injury among football players should potentially put the NFL in OSHA’s sights, Supruniuk said. He cited data that said the NFL players suffer injuries about 15 times more than the average worker.
The concern for players go beyond concussions, Supruniuk said.
“Head injuries are part of a larger problem in football,” he said. Injuries players suffer during their playing careers often have debilitating effects later in their lives, he said.
Whether OSHA has jurisdiction over the NFL is a murky issue, Supruniuk said. One of the questions is whether NFL players are employees or independent contractors, complicating who is responsible for player injuries, he said.
— Steve Bien-Aimé