Jason Reid recently wrote a provocative column for the Washington Post. He kicks off his column with a very strong statement:
“With each bone-breaking, head-injuring hit, NFL players are killing themselves slowly,” wrote Reid. “It’s not a possibility. It’s a fact, no less certain than the league’s immense profitability.”
Knowing what we now know regarding the long-term impact of concussions and repetitive sub-concussive brain trauma (which, as an example, can result from offensive and defensive linemen pounding heads on every play), does it make it harder, as fans of the game, to cheer wildly and passionately over football plays — especially those big hits that always seem to get the most energetic reactions in the stands or in our living rooms?
I’ve studied sports concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the progressive degenerative disease found in the brains of some deceased NFL and NHL players, enough to know that we’re talking about very scary stuff. I believe that brain trauma will be the number one sports issue of the coming decade.
Brain trauma — and what becomes of a lot of former players — is always in the back of my mind now when I watch NFL and NHL games.
It makes the games a little less enjoyable when you feel a bit guilty for deriving entertainment from an activity that has such profoundly negative consequences for a significant group of former players.
As Reid concludes, “I’ll continue to watch as well. But that doesn’t mean I’ll feel good about it. Or that I should.”
— 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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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon