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 #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 in the year 2022.
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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.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
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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