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
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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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