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 #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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