By Ken Reed
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman adamantly denied this week a link between fighting and hits to the head in hockey with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the brain disease that experts say is caused by blows to the brain.
In a New York Times piece, John Branch reported that in a letter to United States senator Richard Blumenthal, a ranking member of the Senate’s Consumer Protection subcommittee, Bettman “blamed the news media for fanning fear of the long-term effects of head injuries and defended the NHL’s ‘more measured approach,’ to the growing science of concussions.”
If Bettman’s denials regarding the dangers of blows to the head sound similar to the denials of tobacco executives in the 1960’s regarding a link between smoking and lung cancer, you’re spot on.
After independent researchers found “a real association between carcinoma of the lung and smoking” in 1952, American tobacco companies were still denying the danger well over a decade later.
For example, a Philip Morris report in 1964 said, “We don’t accept the idea that there are harmful agents in tobacco.”
CTE has been diagnosed in at least six deceased NHL players. As of late 2015, 87 of 91 former NFL players who had their brains autopsied were found to have had CTE.
Nevertheless, for the meantime anyway, the NHL and Bettman will continue to use the tobacco industry’s playbook when it comes to the league’s concussion and brain disease issue.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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 and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
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
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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