I saw on twitter a “what if” question that interested me. Something that really made me think. The question was, “What if the NFL lost as many people as tower climbers?” I am a fan of football and that really made me think. What if the NFL lost as many people as tower climbers? I looked it up and there are around 5,000 people that work for the NFL, not including the media and stadium workers. We have fewer than 10,000 tower climbers, and I think it would actually be no more than 7,000 if we could get an actual count on any given month. So what would happen if the NFL lost half as many players in one year as tower climbers do? Do you think there would be public outrage? What about the concussion issue in the NFL? What about injuries that are season ending in the NFL? Now let’s look at climbing, how many injuries are career ending? Ask Bruce Elle, RF radiation poisoning ended his climbing career. Ask the people who survived the falls in the industry.
So let’s play a “what if” scenario.
Let’s look at the injuries in the NFL, they have a physical job where they get hit a lot, they constantly exert all of their strength, and they are exhausted at the end of the day. They play in the heat, in the cold, and they play all over the USA. Sound familiar?
The climber is constantly exerting all of his/her energy going up and down the tower, they are constantly getting pulled and pushed when they raise or lower a load. They use all of their strength to hold something in place while trying to tighten the hardware. They use all of their strength to finish the job. They are out in the heat and cold, they travel all over the country to work. They do this all year.
Now let’s look at the differences. The NFL player salary starts ay $300K/year and a super star makes millions a year and they get performance bonuses. They play once a week and train 6 days a week. If they get hurt the NFL will make sure that they are taken care of and chances are they have specialists that come in to make sure they are fit to play again. Most people respect and admire NFL players and they are known by most everyone. They are loved by millions and seen on TV as heroes. They work an average of 10 years or so then they have to find other work. They have a limited season.
Climbers make $15/hour to start, that’s $31,200/year without overtime and makes over $75K/year if they are a superstar. Climbers work hard 5 to 7 days a week without a day off in between. If they get hurt, they pray that the insurance will hold out, if they have any, until they can find another way to support themselves. Climbers are not loved by many people outside of the climbing industry; in fact it seems few outsider people know they exist. Climbers careers, this is really hard to answer and I could not find a clear answer. There is no off-season unless they get laid off.
To sum it up:
So what would the government do if a sport, something not critical to communications in the USA, if any sport, had player fatalities? Do you think they would step in? Maybe government wouldn’t need to because the NFL would do something first. Who is looking out for the climbers? I hope OSHA and NATE! The government just started, but are they working fast enough? I think everyone in government uses wireless communications, a cell phone, a smart phone, a 2 way radio, something to communicate, maybe even a pager. Yet, how much is being done for the people losing their lives to support those systems?