By Ken Reed
According to a poll conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, nearly 75% of men and 84% of women say they are opposed to kids playing tackle football before age 14. The poll also found that a majority of Americans — sports fans and non-fans alike — feel the NFL has failed to adequately address the problem of sports-related concussions. In addition, 94% of those surveyed said they would classify concussions and head injuries as a public health issue. Finally, 85% believe science has shown that concussions cause the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“I was pretty surprised at a lot of the findings,” said Joshua Dyck, co-director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion and the study’s lead investigator. “People are changing the way they talk about concussions, and this is a first-cut effort for us to try to understand how the public has responded.”
This study reveals that a large majority of Americans are now aware of the potential dangers of brain injuries sustained in football and other collision sports. However, awareness is a long ways from behavior change. The degree of understanding on the part of parents and coaches regarding the exact risks associated with blows to the head in football and other sports needs to increase. Also, most people still think the problem is just concussions. However, research has revealed that repetitive sub-concussive blows to the head/brain can also lead to short-term and long-term brain damage.
While some youth football organizations have shown a drop in youth participation, others haven’t. At this point, it appears that most Americans are aware of the dangers of playing collision sports, however, that awareness hasn’t translated into significant changes when it comes to youth sports participation statistics.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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.
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.
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.
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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