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 #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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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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.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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