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 #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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