The recent deaths of NHL enforcers, Wade Belak, Rick Rypien, and Derek Boogaard have raised a lot of questions and concerns. See “Questions Linger Over Recent Deaths of Three NHL Enforcers,” San Jose Mercury News.
What role did concussions, if any, have in their deaths?
Did blows to the head from years of fighting lead to a degenerative brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which can be associated with depression?
Are hockey leagues and organizations doing enough to protect players from brain trauma injuries?
Is there any place for fighting and goon-like behavior in hockey?
Recent stories on concussions in sports have focused on football in general and the NHL in particular. But concussions are a serious issue in hockey and the NHL as well. Hockey superstar Eric Lindross never did return to his all-star level after multiple concussions. For years following a series of concussions, he suffered not only debilitating physical symptoms but life-altering emotional symptoms as well. See “Concussions: The Untold Story,” Macleans. The return to the ice of perhaps the NHL’s best player today, Sidney Crosby, remains uncertain due to post-concussive symptoms.
Hockey is a physical, sometimes violent game. That’s understood. But every safety precaution needs to be taken, especially when it comes to blows to the head. And that brings us to the topic of enforcers, goons if you prefer, whose primary job is to fight. See “The Worst Job in Sports,” Sports Illustrated, It’s a demeaning job, usually left to players without the pure hockey skills to earn a roster spot based on their hockey ability alone. Enforcers generally make teams because of their fighting ability and mentality. In light of the growing mound of research regarding the short-and-long-term effects of concussions in sports, hockey leaders need to seriously consider a complete ban on fighting.
For a more in-depth discussion of the issue of concussions in sports, see the League of Fans’ Sports Manifesto report, “Concussion Research Can’t Be Ignored.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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