By Ken Reed
I read a ton about concussions in sports. Most of what I read comes in the form of journal articles, research reports and second-hand accounts. But what really hits home is when you read a first-hand account of how a concussion or long-term sub-concussive brain trauma changes someone’s personality and life. These accounts are especially heartrending when they involve young children and teenagers. I came across one such story yesterday on Huffington Post. It was written by Journey Bailey, a former high school football player who underwent a harrowing experience due to a football-induced concussion. He also touches on the many hurdles he’s faced on a daily basis since the brain injury.
The article is a powerful must-read for any young football player and his parents. It should also be read by school administrators, athletic directors, and youth and high school football coaches everywhere.
Here’s one impactful excerpt:
“Here’s what nobody explained to me until it was already too late: concussions damage an important part of the brain called white matter, a vital part of your central nervous system that delivers information from one part of your head to another. To sum it up; the more concussions you get the less clearly you think. Exposing yourself to head collisions on a regular basis is like playing Russian roulette with your brain, and each time one of those collisions results in a concussion another bullet is added to that spinning gridiron chamber, increasing the odds that your next concussion will be your last. Some players like me kept pulling the trigger until it was too late. …
“My intention here is not to vilify football, a game I revere and respect to this day. Rather, it is to tell you truthfully that playing football took something away from me that I can never get back. It robbed me of the potential to utilize the brain I was born with …”
Journey is an excellent young writer. This excerpt doesn’t do the story justice. Please take a look.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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More Episodes on Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts; PocketCasts; & Anchor
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.”
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.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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