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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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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.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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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