By Ken Reed
Stories about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) often read like medical journal articles. There’s very little humanity in them.
Too often, talking about brain trauma and CTE seems like a theoretical discussion at an academic conference.
But sadly, CTE and its effects on family members and friends is very real.
I recently posted a blog entry about a recent study revealing that 99% of brains (110 of 111 studied) donated by families of former NFL players have CTE.
But that study didn’t talk about the impact CTE has on people’s lives. A new long piece by Jimmy Golden does.
“You watch the life go out of someone’s eyes,” said Lise Hudson, wife of former New York Jet Jim Hudson.
CTE can cause memory loss, wild mood swings, depression and a variety of other neurological problems. The degenerative brain disease is caused by repetitive brain trauma.
“You feel like you got cheated out of some of the best years of your life, not having your father,” said Ollie Matson, Jr., the son of the Hall of Fame running back, who barely spoke for the last four years of his life.
One of the insidious parts of this disease is that the symptoms tend to come on gradually (although several high school and college football players have been diagnosed, one as young as 18 years old).
Mike Keating, nephew of former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Tom Keating, had this to say:
“I’d be very, very concerned if I was a professional football player who had concussions or head hits and I’m 40 years old and I’m saying, ‘I’m fine.’ That’s not how this movie’s going to end.”
Baseball is America’s national pastime. Football is America’s national passion. As such, football isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s a free country and adults playing the game in college and at the professional level are free to make their own decisions about participation. Same is true of the parents who allow their children to play youth and high school tackle football.
But let’s make sure that we, as a society, provide these players and parents all the information possible about the potential consequences of repetitive brain trauma from playing football. The same goes for hockey, soccer and other activities that involve blows to the head.
— 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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More Episodes on Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts; PocketCasts; & Anchor
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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