• ISSN: 2155-7950
  • Journal of Business and Economics

Concussions: The Marketing Nightmare that Faces

the NFL and Youth Sports

Thomas J. Orr
(Northern State University, USA)
Abstract: On August 22, 2013, the National Football League and the NFL players association settled on their concussion lawsuit for $765 million dollars. On January 14th US District Judge Anita Brody, denied the settlement on grounds that the agreement didn’t do enough to address players not named in the original lawsuit which included 20,000 retired players (Rovell, 2014). The judge eventually cleared a revised settlement which eliminates a cap on claims and raises the payout to 870 million.
     According to recent research done on the brains of deceased NFL players the long term effects of concussion is more serious that thought. “Concussions that were once thought of as part of the game and a minor injury are only now being understood in terms of their long term issues as many ex-athletes are having severe problems with brain functioning.” (Jamieson & Orr, 2009). The mentality of playing through injuries and the push to make young athletes bigger, faster and stronger in hopes of a future pay day has led to a trickle-down effect of concussions at the youth level. Concussion research has shown that young athletes have an increased risk for long-term side effects of concussions which is even more problematic for youth sports (Valovich, Schwartz, Bay, 2007; Field, Collins, Lovell, & Maroon, 2003).
     The future of the NFL as an economic juggernaut amongst its peers will have a major impact from how it handles this problem. The court of public perception does not want to see the NFL abandon its players and they also want to know about the safety of children and non-professionals who play sport. The NFL, High School Coaches, and youth league directors do not want to read headlines like, “Parents Weigh Risks of Youth Football Amid Concussion Debate”, as the USA Today proclaimed in a pointed article (Mihoces, 2012). The Wall Street Journal stated that, Football faces another hurdle: growing concern that concussions and other contact injuries can cause lasting physical damage” when they ran an article entitled, “Youth Participation Weakens in Basketball, Football, Baseball and Soccer.” (Wallerson, 2014).
     This meta-analysis focuses on the impact concussions may have on NFL and Youth Sport Marketing efforts. We will also consider other youth sports that have concussion injuries and how the atmosphere of a team and the hubris of the athletes relate to incident rates. Potential financial implications and marketing strategies to mitigate the damage along with other solutions to the core issue will be discussed. Further analysis will be provided in the paper, along with a question and answer session.
Key words: NFL; concussion movie; Adrian Peterson; youth sports; sport violence
JEL codes: I, K, O

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