NFL owners have more to worry about these days than just the work stoppage with the players. The evidence continues to mount that repetitive blows to the head — both concussive and sub-concussive –from football contact can lead to depression, violent and erratic behavior, and other mental disorders.
Several researchers, including pathologists Dr. Bennet Omalu and Dr. Ann McKee, have found brain damage, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), in a growing number of deceased NFL players.
McKee’s research team recently found CTE in former NFL star Dave Duerson. Duerson had suspected he had CTE for awhile. In a final note before committing suicide at age 50, Duerson asked researchers to analyze his brain. He shot himself in the chest instead of the head to preserve his brain for analysis.
“Dave Duerson had the classic pathology of [CTE] and severe involvement of all the [brain regions] that affect judgment, inhibition, impulse, mood control and memory,” McKee said.
Meanwhile, the NFL seems to be employing a variety of legal and public relations tactics designed to distance the league from any culpability.
“This shows that the NFL is frightened about getting sued,” Dr. Gabe Mirkin, sports medicine pioneer and erstwhile Redskins consultant, told Washington City Paper. “Mark my words: The NFL is going to be at the end of a lawsuit where a guy says they should be paying for this or that criminal behavior, because some guy got hit in the head too much playing football, and a jury will be convinced of that. And that is a reasonable argument. The brain controls everything. And there’s accumulating evidence to show that getting hit in the head can cause anything to change — thought processes, mood, anything. The NFL has to act like it’s taking action.”
While we continue to monitor the latest research on sports-related concussions, the League of Fans proposes that, at a minimum, all sports leagues — at all levels — be required to implement an education campaign on concussions and a research-based policy for preventing and treating them.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #32 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Prolific Author Joe Posnanski Joins the Show – Posnanski is one of America’s best sportswriters and has twice been named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. We chat about his new book, “Why We Love Baseball,” his new Substack newsletter called Joe Blogs, and we cover topics including how baseball treats its fans, MLB’s numerous rule changes this past season, how the sport can become more fan-friendly, the greatness of Negro Leagues champion Buck O’Neil, and much more.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #31 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Foul Ball Safety Is Still an Important Issue at Ballparks – Our guests are Jordan Skopp, founder of FoulBallSafety.com and Greg Wilkowski, a Chicago based attorney. We discuss the historical problem of foul balls injuring fans and why some teams are still hesitant to put up protective netting in some minor league and college baseball parks.
Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
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. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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