By Ken Reed
According to a Washington Post survey, more than one in three former NFL players said they experienced five or more concussions during their careers. Moreover, three out of four players who experienced at least three concussions while playing report experiencing continuing symptoms from those concussions today — in some cases, decades after playing their last game.
“The most severe consequence of an NFL career is head trauma that can lead to brain disorders as well as a host of mental health issues,” wrote Sally Jenkins, Rick Maese, and Scott Clement in the Post article about the survey.
Then there’s the consequences from all the injuries and surgeries most players deal with during and after their football careers. A University of Michigan study of 1,063 former NFL players conducted in 2009, found that eight of 10 former players reported suffering from pain that lasts most of the day. That’s 80% with pain 24/7!
How many high school and college players going out for football this August will be aware of these health-related stats on concussions and chronic pain from football?
Very few. And a big reason that’s the case is that college and high school administrators, coaches, trainers and team physicians don’t tell them.
A UCLA Entertainment Law Review article on the concussion issue published last year, concluded the NCAA has failed to adequately educate and protect college athletes.
“The NCAA’s concussion management plan really only says that every member school has to have its own concussion management plan,” says Joseph Siprut who has filed a federal lawsuit against the NCAA claiming negligence in the area of brain trauma. “In practice, that’s led to complete disaster. A lot of schools simply don’t do a good job of addressing the issue. There’s no consistency. If there were more effective measures in place, it would certainly help student-athletes. Failure to do so is negligence.”
Many NFL, NCAA, and high school players (and their parents) would undoubtedly choose to continue playing football after presented with all the facts about the short-and-long-term consequences of football participation.
But they should at least be able to make that decision after all the information is presented to them.
It’s time for full disclosure to football players at all levels.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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 in the year 2022.
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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.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
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.
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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