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
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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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