by Ken Reed
Ohio State football player Kosta Karageorge had suffered four or five concussions, according to his sister. The number might have been greater given that Karageorge had a tendency to not report concussions, based on teammate accounts.
We also now know that Karageorge likely committed suicide. He was found dead in a dumpster with a handgun next to him.
A neuropathologist will look for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease resulting from traumatic brain injury. We can’t know for sure what the pathologist will find and it’s possible the pathologist won’t be able to determine one way or the other if there was an abnormality or defect from a traumatic brain injury.
However, the situation looks eerily similar to the suicides of the NFL’s Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, along with other football players who committed suicide and were later found to have been suffering from CTE.
What can we learn from the Karageorge situation?
Whatever the autopsy results, this is an instructive case study for football programs at all levels.
His teammates said Karageorge had concussions he didn’t report. So, Karageorge let himself down. His teammates also let him down by not reporting the concussions to coaches or team medical personnel.
From all reports, Karageorge was a “tough” guy who didn’t like to report injuries, including concussions. One teammate said Karageorge’s mentality was to never sit out, never back away from a challenge.
That mentality might have ultimately led to his death.
Coaches and players need to fully understand and appreciate the symptoms and warning signs of brain injury. They need to be strongly encouraged to remove themselves from practice if they notice any of those symptoms or warning signs. Likewise, they need to do all they can to get teammates out of the action — in games or practice — who exhibit any of the symptoms or warning signs of brain injury.
We’re not talking about toughing it out through an ankle sprain. We’re talking about the brain, the seat of the human personality itself. And we’re talking about a potential lifetime of mental problems and perhaps premature death.
At this point, all we can do is hope some positive developments come from Kosta Karageorge’s unfortunate demise.
— 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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