Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New football penalty: crashing the quarterback

There was a disturbance in the force as a million fantasy football team owners quickly readjusted their 2006 fantasy football lineups on news that Ben "Organ Donor" Roethlisberger almost killed himself in a motorcycle crash when he struck a car head-on in Pittsburgh on Monday. He would never play football without wearing a helmet, yet he wasn't wearing one when he had the accident. Even worse, he may not have had a license, from one news report:
"In an additional development, KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh reported Roethlisberger does not have a valid Pennsylvania motorcycle license and that his temporary permit expired in March, though he does have a valid automobile driver's license. The Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles declined to comment on the report."
The story has brought up the controversy regarding helmet laws for motorcycle riders. Apparently Pennsylvania had repealed their law in 2003. I recently hypothesized that deciding whether it is in society's best interest for motorcycle riders to wear helmets is a more complicated question than it first seems on the surface. On one hand the chance of deaths in a motorcycle accidents increases enormously if the rider is not wearing a helmet, and presumably society wants to reduce traffic deaths. On the other hand, these types of accidents have the possibility of yielding organ donors, which can benefit those on waiting for transplants. More statistics could yield an answer to this question.

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