By Ken Reed
The Houston Texans’ Tom Savage was down on the ground. His hands were shaking uncontrollably, like he was having a seizure. He had taken a brutal shot to the head and it was clear he wasn’t right.
Yet, minutes later, he was back on the field playing quarterback. Somebody on the Texans’ sideline permitted Savage to re-enter the game. Shortly thereafter, it became increasingly clear he had suffered a concussion and he came back out of the game.
There’s an ongoing problem here. What is it in the NFL’s concussion protocol that allowed him to be cleared for additional action? How can millions of people watching on TV realize that Savage should be removed from the game and not allowed to return but medical personnel on the Texans’ sideline can’t?
This is serious stuff. Athletes that return to play too soon following a concussion are at higher risk for a rare but serious, and sometimes fatal, condition known as Second Impact Syndrome.
Moreover, the issue at hand isn’t just about the Savage case. There have been multiple situations this season, and in recent years, in which the league’s concussion protocol has failed miserably, putting the health of players in grave danger.
Following a situation in which Colt McCoy was allowed to return to a game after suffering a concussion in a 2011 game, players, coaches, doctors and fans called for a new system.
“There are league-wide problems in procedure, and that’s what needs to be addressed,” said former Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita. “You can’t point your finger at any one thing. It’s the process.”
Well, it’s December 2017 and the process is still messed up. And it needs to be addressed immediately, before a player dies on the field from Second Impact Syndrome.
“Football is a violent game where brutal hits occur. After years of denying any correlation between the game and head trauma, the league is now butchering how to handle its preventative measures—both proactive and reactive.”
It’s all simply shameful.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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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.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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