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 #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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