By Ken Reed
Debra Pyka, a Wisconsin woman is suing Pop Warner, the largest youth football organization in the country. She’s claiming her son’s suicide at age 25 can be traced to playing youth football with Pop Warner.
An autopsy found that Pyka’s son, Joseph Chernach, was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the same debilitating brain disease that many NFL players have been found to have suffered from, including Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, both of whom also committed suicide.
According to a story about the lawsuit written by Travis Waldron:
“the complaint, which seeks $5 million in damages, asserts that Pop Warner was negligent because it failed to require athletic trainers at games and practices; that it failed to properly train coaches in injury prevention and concussion treatment; and by failing to educate players and parents about possible long-term brain damage that could result from playing football. It also alleges that the organization was negligent because it did not institute proper concussion management or return to play rules for players suspected of having concussions.”
Concussion-related lawsuits have also been filed recently in Illinois and Mississippi against state and national high school athletics associations.
Depending on how these and other potential lawsuits play out, youth and high school football could be placed on the endangered species lists within the next decade, if for no other reason than the likelihood of rising insurance costs for football. In particular, it simply might not be financially feasible for high schools in lower socioeconomic areas to pay growing insurance premiums for football programs.
“Insurers will be tightening up their own coverage and make sports more expensive,” said Robert Boland, a sports law instructor at New York University. “It could make the sustainability of certain sports a real issue.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – The guest is Gary McCoy, a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations. Our focus is the injury pandemic in baseball, what’s causing it and how it can be fixed.
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Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
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.
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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