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 #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.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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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