By Ken Reed

“The whole event [Olympics] long ago became a corporate spectacle that has more to do with selling TV ads than promoting international friendship.”
— Charles Lane

Middle School Athletes Being Recruited

In the Washington D.C. area, the best 8th grade football players are being recruited by local private schools in a manner similar to the way the country’s best high school players are recruited by big-time college football programs.

DeJuan Ellis, Jr. has been watched by numerous high school coaches while playing junior high football games the past three years. They send him texts and messages on Facebook. Some give him tours of their school and host him at their high school games.

“It’s bigger than ever,” says one high school coach. “We’re getting highlight tapes every day from parents and coaches. It’s just the college [scene], just four years earlier.”

Young Teens Still Not Exercising

Only one in four U.S. teens between ages 12 to 15 meet the recommended hour or more of moderate to vigorous activity every day, based on a sample of 800 kids as part of the 2012 National Youth Fitness Survey. The actual number of active teens might even be less than stated since the results were self-reported.

“It’s definitely very concerning to see that our kids are engaging in such a limited amount of physical activity each day when we are still battling” an obesity epidemic, said Stephen Pont, an Austin pediatrician.

Another Reason to Protect Hockey Players: Finances

There has been a ton of data pointing to the fact that the NHL does a terrible job protecting its players from brain trauma. The league still allows fighting for Pete’s sake.

Nevertheless, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his owner cronies have done very little to make the game safer.

Perhaps they might take action upon hearing this fact: NHL teams and their insurers paid approximately $653 million in salary to players sidelined by concussions and other injuries over three recent seasons, according to a study published in the medical journal Injury Prevention.

“NHL owners need to do a better job of protecting their athletes — if not for their players, then for their own pocketbooks,” said study author Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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