By Ken Reed
Concussions and brain trauma in youth and high school sports has become such a big issue that the National Athletic Trainers Association recently devoted an entire issue of Journal of Athletic Training to sport-related concussions.
The trainers’ survey found that 94% of adults said head injuries and concussions in sports are a public health issue.
There were other interesting findings but the most concerning was that 55% of high school athletes said they didn’t or wouldn’t report a concussion. This despite the fact that all the athletes in the survey had taken preseason concussion education mandated by their states. Reasons for not reporting the concussion symptoms included: not wanting to lose playing time, not thinking the injury was serious enough to require medical attention, and not wanting to let the team down.
Another disturbing finding: Only 37% of U.S. high schools employ a full-time athletic trainer. This is important because schools with full-time trainers do a better job of identifying concussed athletes than schools without full-time trainers. Also, athletes at schools without full-time athletic trainers return to play sooner than athletes with full-time trainers. Returning to play too soon after a concussion is dangerous because an athlete is more vulnerable to a follow-up concussion. Athletes that return to play too soon are also at higher risk for a rare but serious and sometimes fatal condition known as Second Impact Syndrome.
Also of note, athletes at schools with athletic trainers correctly identified the signs and symptoms of concussions at a higher rate than athletes at schools without full-time trainers.
If schools are going to spend the money to fund competitive varsity athletics, they also need to find the money to fund a full-time athletic trainer.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world, with over 150 camps in 30+ U.S. states and Canada. We discuss problems in youth sports today, including single sport specialization, the growing gap between the “haves” and “have-nots,” the high drop-out rate in competitive sports, and the growing mental health challenges young athletes are dealing with today.
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Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
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.”
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.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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