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Beck’s Latest Anti-Health Care Argument: Football Helmets Cause Reckless Behavior So You Should Have Less Health Care Protection

Reported by Ellen - December 16, 2009 -

Glenn Beck offered up some of his unique brand of reasoning yesterday (12/15/09) as he argued that greater health care regulation would make us all more reckless with our health and, therefore, lead to more fatalities. Therefore, for our own good, we should have less health protection. He “proved” his point by comparing the situation to NFL players wearing helmets and rugby players who don’t. According to Beck, football players get more head injuries because they are less cautious with their behavior as a result. But Beck overlooked the fact that there are differences in the rules of the two sports. With video.

In his opening monologue, Beck told his audience, “The best way to fix health care (is to) get the government out of it… (and) stop protecting people from their own mistakes… They are actually making it more likely that we as a nation, as a republic, will be injured and possibly fatally injured.”

He continued, “Let me show you something from the NFL. The NFL has this effort to protect their players from head injuries… The NFL, with good ideas… they make their players wear the most protective helmets modern technology can provide. Yet, nearly every week, another player winds up with a concussion or worse.”

On the other hand, Beck claimed, “The Australian Football League (rugby) … players don’t wear the helmets… at all. Yet head injuries are down. In that league, head injuries are 25% lower than in the NFL. How could that possibly be? In the NFL, the players know they have the best equipment in the world protecting them and it causes them to be more reckless in their behavior on the field… Rugby players know, ‘I gotta use my head tomorrow. I don’t have anything protecting it. So they’re more careful.” Maybe so, but as the News Tribune noted when reporting on the lower injury rates of rugby players:

One of the authors of that study is Lyle Micheli, director of the Division of Sports Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital. He said rule changes to rugby scrums have dramatically cut down on the number of spinal-cord injuries in that sport… “There’s no blocking in rugby. The actual amount of hard physical contact in rugby is less. The major impact is occurring in the tackling situation. The scrums are kind of a controlled force, there’s no impact from them. One scrum is pushing against the other, so there’s not much injury... In American football, probably every player is receiving impact-type contact.

Will Beck lead with that correction in his next show? I doubt it. We emailed the show yesterday to point out his error in saying Galileo “fought” to “enlighten mankind” that the earth is round when, in fact, people already knew that during Galileo’s time. No correction today, despite Beck’s promise to admit on the air when he’s wrong.

“Which one is more compassionate? The intentions of the NFL or the people who don’t give their players helmets?” Beck asked. Then he put on his serious face and his faltering, sensitive-guy voice. “I contend, no helmets.”

Media Matters noted that Beck made similar claims on Fox & Friends earlier that day.

I’ve got an idea, Glenn. Why don’t you and your family go without health insurance altogether and prove to the rest of us how much better off you are? Come to think of it, going without car insurance and homeowner's insurance would probably do your family a world of good, too.

You can contact the show at glennbeck@foxnews.com .