By Ken Reed
President Barack Obama, concerned about concussions in youth sports, hosted a conference on youth sports safety at the White House on Thursday.
He called for more research on concussions in young athletes and said a new attitude is needed when it comes to head injuries.
“We have to change a culture that says you suck it up,” said Obama regarding pressure athletes often feel to stay in practices or games after a potentially dangerous blow to the head.
Obama noted that concussions aren’t just an issue for youth football. He pointed out that concussions are a growing concern in hockey, soccer, lacrosse and other contact sports.
Obama was introduced by Victoria Bellucci, a young lady who suffered five concussions while playing high school and club soccer. She ultimately had to give up the sport.
“Concussions have drastically altered my life,” said Bellucci.
Obama drew national attention last year when he said he would have to think “long and hard” about allowing a son to play football because of the risk of a head injury.
“We want our kids participating in sports,” he said. “As parents, though, we want to keep them safe.”
Obama deserves kudos for drawing more attention to the issue but he has very little impact from a policy perspective. The president has no direct authority over youth sports leagues and the United States doesn’t have a national sports commission or sports minister, as many countries do, to address the issue. (See: Nader Calls for National Sports Commission).
As such, Obama is left with attempting to increase awareness and understanding about brain trauma injuries among parents, coaches and young athletes.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
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.
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.
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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