By Ken Reed
The recent settlement between the National Football League (NFL) and approximately 4,500 former players is definitely a win for the NFL. The league gave up less than 10% of its gross revenue for one year and didn’t have to admit any type of guilt, reveal any internal research, or open any medical records. It’s also a win for the hundreds of players that are suffering the debilitating effects of football-induced brain trauma and need the financial help to pay medical bills.
But it’s a big-time loss for the general public, and in particular, young football players and their families.
If this case had gone to trial, Americans would’ve learned even more about the dangers of brain trauma in football and other contact sports. We would’ve learned more about brain injury symptoms and treatment do’s and don’ts. Parents would’ve had more information at their disposal when making decisions regarding sports participation options for their children.
But we’ll never know now what the NFL knew, and when they knew it. What type of information does the NFL have under lock and key about concussions and sub-concussive hits and the links with depression, memory loss, early-onset Alzheimer’s, and even Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)?
The lawsuit settlement means critical information in our quest to learn more about brain trauma will never see the light of day, and that’s a loss for all of us.
Alas, the NFL suit is over but the concussion/brain issue certainly isn’t. The focus now needs to shift from the 2,000 or so NFL players to the more than 3.5 million youth football players in this country. Young players are more vulnerable to brain injuries than adults because their brains are still developing.
What are we to make of youth football? High school football? Should our public schools — designed to enhance the brain — even be offering activities that are hazardous to the brain?
When it comes to concussions, a ton of issues remain — despite the NFL’s desire to close the book on the issue.
— 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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