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 #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
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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