By Ken Reed
A new documentary called Head Games increases awareness and understanding of the concussion crisis in sports, while at the same time advocating safety measures to help prevent the devastating effects of brain trauma among the next generation of athletes. The film is based on a book of the same title, written by Chris Nowinski and published in 2006. Nowinski, a former WWE wrestler and football player at Harvard, suffered numerous concussions during his sports career. The brain injuries forced his early retirement and led to multiple lingering symptoms he deals with today. He currently serves as co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a degenerative brain disease that results from multiple blows to the head.
Zorianna Kit wrote an excellent review of the documentary in the Huffington Post.
Kit writes about a compelling scene from the film that points out how clueless we remain as a society regarding the seriousness of brain trauma with athletes.
“The most jaw-dropping scene involves Nowinski giving a talk at a high school about the effects of concussions,” writes Kit. “The school’s football coach had the audacity to schedule a mandatory weight lifting session to make sure his players couldn’t attend the symposium. Meanwhile the school’s athletic trainer verbally attacks Nowinski for “scaring” all the parents. In a complete show of ignorance, the trainer admits to firmly believing that his own 10-year-old daughter, who plays soccer and complains of headaches after heading the ball, is not exhibiting symptoms of a concussion, but that it’s all just “part of the game.”
It shouldn’t be “all just part of the game.” Head Games is another important vehicle for extending the important message about brain trauma in sports to all sports stakeholders.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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 long-time member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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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.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
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