By Ken Reed
Junior Seau’s suicide has spurred conversations throughout the sports world about whether football can survive in its present form. Andy Staples writes that “given everything we’ve learned in the past few years about the brain damage caused by repeated trauma, the immediate reaction is to point the finger at football … It’s the mounting evidence that repeated shots to the head could be slowly killing football players. Even if it had nothing to do with Seau’s death, football has lost the benefit of the doubt. Every time a far-too-young ex-player dies after suffering some sort of mental distress, football will be the prime suspect.”
A powerful “stop and think” article written recently by economists Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier entitled, “What Would the End of Football Look Like?” paints a death scenario for football that isn’t so far-fetched.
According to Cowen and Grier, pre-collegiate football is already sustaining 90,000 or more concussions each year.
“If ex-players start winning judgments, insurance companies might cease to insure college and high schools against football-related lawsuits,” wrote Cowen and Grier.
Various reputable observers and analysts are predicting the end of football as we know it anywhere within the next 5-20 years. The demise will likely start with high school football. As the evidence continues to pile up on the short-and-long-term damage resulting from concussions — along with sub-concussive brain trauma — a MADD-like group of parents could very well form calling for the end of football — as they pull their children from the sport. Other parents would likely follow their lead. They will raise the question, “Why should educational institutions sponsor an activity that turns young brains to mush?” But the big blow to high school football will most likely be of financial origin: insurance companies saying “No more!” to high school football.
“This slow death march could easily take 10 to 15 years,” continued Cowen and Grier. “Imagine the timeline. A couple more college players — or worse, high schoolers — commit suicide with autopsies showing CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). A jury makes a huge award of $20 million to a family … Soon high schools decide it isn’t worth it.”
Don’t think a scenario in which football is marginalized is possible? Ask your grandfather about the time when boxing was second in popularity to only baseball in this country …
— 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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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.
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Order from Amazon
Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon