By Ken Reed
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald said during a sentencing for Jordan Hart, a minor league hockey player who supplied painkillers to former NHL player Derek Boogaard, that both hockey players were victims of organized sports and its lax attitude toward painkillers.
“Mr. Boogaard and Mr. Hart were victims of organized sports, which did not consider the consequences of supplying large quantities of addictive pain medication to their players,” said Buchwald.
Boogaard and Hart were also both victims of a hockey culture that glorified violence, including sanctioned fighting on the ice. Boogaard, an enforcer (read: thug) during his NHL career, was supported by a hockey culture that condoned the allocation of team roster spots to players whose only valuable skill — at the NHL level anyway — was beating the tar out of opponents.
Toward the end of his career, Boogaard knew something was wrong with his mind. He didn’t know what. But he knew he just didn’t feel right. What was happening was that his occupation, hockey enforcer, was slowly damaging his brain, leading to a variety of serious neurological problems. Boogaard had grown fearful about having to fight during hockey games. But he also knew that his teammates, coaches and team management expected it. He knew that if he stopped fighting his career would be over. So, he fought on, until an accidental overdose killed him at age 28.
Boogaard had so many concussions during his playing days that he eventually lost count. An autopsy found that he had been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head.
Buchwald had it right. Boogaard was a victim of organized sports and its lax attitude toward painkillers. What she didn’t mention is that he was also the victim of hockey’s lax attitude toward fighting and brain trauma.
— 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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