By Ken Reed
Peter Keating, of ESPN The Magazine, has written an excellent feature article on just how weak the proposed concussion settlement between the NFL and former players is. The preliminary settlement, which still needs final approval from U.S. District Court Judge Anita Brody, basically ignores chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and all its possible manifestations. Brody’s final ruling isn’t expected to come until some time early next year.
Exhibits 1A and 1B as to why this settlement is deeply flawed, is the fact that former NFL greats Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, who shot and killed themselves due to the behavioral effects of CTE, would receive nothing from this concussion settlement were they alive today.
“By writing CTE and its possible manifestations out of the settlement, the league has scored a huge legal and political victory that will resonate for decades: The NFL does not have to admit the existence of a football-specific degenerative brain disease.”
Why did the players agree to accept such a settlement? For one, it is very confusing when it comes to what’s covered — and when — and what’s not. Two, and perhaps most importantly, the NFL is paying the former players’ attorneys $112.5 million within 60 days of the final settlement. It can’t be too surprising that the players’ attorneys are now pushing for a quick settlement.
Many brain-injury experts are shocked by the settlement’s lack of coverage in the CTE area.
Dr. Bob Stern, a professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and anatomy and neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine, is concerned that the former players aren’t aware of the lack of coverage in the settlement when it comes to CTE. As a result, he’s started a mini-communications campaign to increase awareness and understanding.
“My goal is not to stop the settlement, and not to stop money from getting to people who desperately need it,” Stern says. “But my biggest fear is that a large majority of the players have no idea what is compensated and what is not.
“Leaving out the ability to diagnose CTE in the future — that is the single most problematic part of the settlement to me. We’re in the most exciting era of understanding the human brain in history, and that will set aside 65 years of neuroscience.”
As Keating aptly concludes, “For years, players were misled by the NFL about the dangers of concussions. Now those players deserve a full measure of help, not further deception.”
— 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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