By Ken Reed
The research studies that link playing football to brain-related health issues continue to pile up.
The latest study, conducted by Boston University’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center, and published in the medical journal Translational Psychiatry, found that those who participated in football before the age of 12 were twice as likely to have problems with behavior regulation, apathy, and executive functioning — including initiating activities, problem solving, planning and organizing — when they get older. These young football players were also three times as likely to suffer from depression in subsequent years.
“Between the ages of 10 and 12, there is this period of incredible development of the brain,” said Dr. Robert Stern, the director of clinical research at Boston’s Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center, who co-authored the study. “It makes sense that children whose brains are rapidly developing should not be hitting their heads over and over again.”
It’s important to note that the findings weren’t limited to players who had suffered concussions while playing football. Stern says that means the dangers to the brain from playing football aren’t simply related to big hits that result in a concussion.
Repetitive, sub-concussive hits to the head can be just as damaging to the brain as concussions, according to researchers that are looking at the accumulation of smaller hits. Research has shown that football players that show no evidence of a concussion can have significant changes to the brain.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman. We discuss the state of college athletics today.
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. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
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.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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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