By Ken Reed
The Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory parade is in the books.
Americans reveled in another Super Bowl spectacle.
Huge men constantly running into each other provides entertainment for millions of Americans.
But since chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was discovered in 2002 by Dr. Bennet Omalu, the game hasn’t been quite as fun to watch.
CTE is a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive blows to the brain. Football players receive a lot of blows to the brain during a typical season.
An offensive lineman like Bob Kuechenberg of the 1972 Super Bowl champion Miami Dolphins, who was found to have CTE upon his death, likely absorbed thousands of hits to his head every year during his life.
“(Researchers) asked me how many concussions he might have had, and I said, ‘His head was his tool. Do the math over college and high school,’” said Alexandra Kuechenberg, his daughter.
Several of Kuechenberg’s Miami teammates from the perfect 17-0 Super Bowl champs were discovered to have suffered from CTE (memory loss, wild mood swings, depression, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, etc.).
One was Bill Stanfill, a defensive lineman, who banged heads with offensive linemen over his long career. Stanfill died at age 69 with CTE.
“He told me, ’Stan, I’ve been hurt my whole life,” said Bill’s son Stan. “‘I can deal with the pain. But this losing your mind, I can’t handle that.’”
The families of once strong and vibrant men often see the former pro football players in their lives turn bitter, lose their memories and struggle to do simple everyday tasks.
An estimated one-third of NFL players who died in the past several years have donated their brains to science because they suspected they might have CTE.
Star Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti, an NFL Hall-of-Famer was one of them. He suffered from dementia for years before his death. His family awaits the results from a post-mortem examination of his brain.
Dr. Ann McKee, a researcher at the CTE Center at Boston University says, “Everything is related to the dose,” referring to the number of subconcussive blows to the head that occur in football practices and games.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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 in the year 2022.
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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.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
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.
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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