Americans love football. The Super Bowl is the most watched television event of the year. Super Bowl Sunday has become a national holiday. And the NFL draft, which took three days to complete this past weekend, has become popular with football fans who hope their favorite team will draft a player that can help produce a championship.
There’s no doubt that football can be an exciting and entertaining sport to watch. However, it is also an extremely dangerous game for the players. We’ve known since the first football game was played that players tend to get beat up playing the game they love. Broken bones, torn ligaments, shoulder separations, etc., are widely accepted as “just part of the game.”
But only in recent months have we found out how devastating repetitive blows to the head can be. What old school football players and coaches used to brush off as simply “getting one’s bell rung,” is now considered dangerous brain trauma with short-and-long-term ramifications. There is growing medical evidence that repetitive head trauma can cause chronic brain injury and an early form of Alzheimer-like dementia.
What’s especially scary is that there are an estimated 4.4 million children playing football in America. Children’s brains are more susceptible to injury than adult brains. Concussions are the biggest concern but research has shown that brain injury can occur even without concussions.
According to Katherine Chretien, a physician writing in USA Today last week, “It is estimated that a single child might be exposed to hundreds or even thousands of low-level head hits during a single football season.”
For the full story, read “Why I won’t risk my child’s brain for football.”
Several states have recently passed laws requiring strict procedures for any young football players suspected of having a concussion. However, there are still more than 40 states that have basically ignored the issue.
“Such indifference borders on negligence. An average 64,000 high school football players suffered concussions each school year from 2005 through 2008, according to Dawn Comstock of the Center for Injury Research and Policy in Columbus, Ohio. More than 35% returned to play too soon, under well-accepted medical guidelines, and 16% who lost consciousness were allowed back on the field the same day. Presumably, somebody noticed that these boys were knocked out cold. Those in charge ignored the peril.”
For the full USA Today editorial, read “Our view: Who needs concussion laws? 1.2 million young football players.”
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon