By Ken Reed
A couple weeks ago, it was learned that of a 111 brains of former NFL players examined, 110 had the serious brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is caused by repetitive blows to the head.
What didn’t receive much attention in this study was the finding that of the 53 brains examined of former college football players who never played in the pros, 48 were found to have CTE. That’s 91 percent of former college football players who never played a down of professional football.
Now that fact, raises an important question: Should institutions of higher learning be sponsoring an activity that clearly is harmful to the human brain?
“[C]olleges and universities sponsor the football teams we watch on Saturdays,” writes Fred Bowen of the Washington Post.
“The mission of these institutions is to develop and train the minds of their students. Should these schools be sponsoring a sport that may be damaging the brains of their student-athletes?”
The same questions could be asked of high schools and middle schools in this country, where the players have brains that are still developing. The sad truth is that many high school and youth football programs have more full-contact tackling practices than pro or college teams.
At the very least, all schools — from the college-level down — should eliminate full-contact practices during the week once the season starts.
The Ivy League has already done this and continues to set the standard in player safety.
“Shouldn’t college and universities think more about their football players’ health than the money they make from the sport?” asks Bowen.
The vast majority of college administrators will take a pass on that question.
— 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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