By Ken Reed
Rebecca Ruiz has written a powerful and compelling essay about how a concussion caused her to give up the sport she loved: soccer. Ruiz, now a writer in the San Francisco area, suffered a concussion the summer before her freshman season at Seattle University. The symptoms lingered much longer than she or anyone else expected. Once back on the soccer field, she never felt the same, physically or mentally. She eventually walked into her coaches office and quit in order to focus on trying to get her healthy brain back.
“About 250,000 young athletes are treated annually in an emergency room for a sports-related concussion,” writes Ruiz in Aeon magazine.
“Those with the luck to avoid our fate fear that it is only a matter of time before an off-kilter tackle or mid-air collision comes for them, too. They know that a concussion can cause lasting damage, forcing them to choose between their brain and being a competitor who refuses to quit.”
Sadly, it’s a choice too many contact-sport athletes are having to make these days.
A key takeaway from Ruiz’ article is how important it is not to return to play too soon after a concussion. An athlete suffering a second concussion soon after a first can be diagnosed with Second Impact Syndrome, a very dangerous — even potentially fatal — condition. Unfortunately, too many athletes, and their parents and coaches, aren’t getting the message.
A recent JAMA Pediatrics study from the Institute of Medicine in Washington DC found that a culture of ‘play through it’ still permeates organized sports. According to the study, despite increased awareness about the risks of head injuries, athletes still resist reporting concussions and don’t always comply with orders to rest. For example, the study found that more than half of the injured young girls continued to play through concussion symptoms.
Read Ruiz’ article and then pass it on. Thanks to Pamela Weintraub for sharing it with me.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
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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
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
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.
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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