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 #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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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.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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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