By Ken Reed
I’ve written in the past that what might ultimately take down high school football is insurers’ refusal to take on the risks associated with the sport. The premiums to cover high school football might rise so high after a few concussion-related lawsuits that schools and school districts simply won’t be able to afford insurance coverage for football. Similarly, family healthcare plans might eventually exclude injuries suffered by children while participating in football.
Inevitably, the growing mound of brain trauma and concussion research will lead to lawsuits at all levels of the game. Football-related risk and liability will be hard to contain for school districts and their insurers. And, when risk and liability can’t be contained, insurance premium costs will shoot up, making the sponsoring of football cost prohibitive for high schools.
This theory gained some credibility recently when Haruki Nakamura, a former NFL defensive back for the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers, sued Lloyd’s of London to force it to honor a $1 million disability policy the company sold him.
Now, granted, personal disability insurance for an NFL player is different than catastrophic accident insurance policies carried by schools and/or school districts. But the implications of concussion lawsuits for insurers is clear.
In a New York Times article on Nakamura’s lawsuit, Ken Belson wrote:
“The increasing awareness of the problems associated with severe head trauma could lead more players who suffer brain injuries to file claims, but it could also prompt insurers to increase the cost of their policies, or even exclude concussions from the coverage.”
Lawyers are certainly cognizant of the situation.
“There is an awareness that is so far from what existed even five years ago,” said Joshua Gold, a lawyer who specializes in insurance recovery cases. “It must be frightening for underwriters who take on these risks.”
The issue must also be frightening for the schools, school districts and state high school athletics associations that sponsor football.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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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