By Ken Reed
Leaders from the Professional Footballers’ Association, Jeff Astle Foundation, the Concussion Legacy Foundation and brain injury association Headway have signed an open letter urging the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to allow temporary concussion substitutions in soccer games so players who may have been concussed during play can be properly evaluated by medical professionals on the sideline.
“We need to do everything we can to support medical professionals to make the best decisions for player safety, that means allowing them the time and space to conduct robust clinical assessments away from the field of play,” said Concussion Legacy Foundation UK executive director, Dr. Adam White. “Temporary concussion substitutions are the only way that can happen.”
While concussions are often the focus when it comes to brain injuries in sports, the long-term health risks to the brain from playing soccer go beyond concussions. Research indicates that repetitive sub-concussive blows to the head (like those that occur while heading the ball over and over during games and practices) can also lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
A FIELD study published in 2019 found soccer players were three and a half times more likely to die from a neurodegenerative disease than an age-matched member of the general population. The FIELD study was conducted by Dr. Willie Stewart, who also signed the letter to IFAB.
Headway chief executive Peter McCabe said: “It is vital that we better protect footballers from the dangers of continuing to play after sustaining a concussion – particularly those playing at grass-roots level. The introduction of temporary concussion substitutes should have happened years ago and any further delays are simply unacceptable.”
Alas, while IFAB considered implementing temporary concussion substitutes at its meeting earlier this week, they ultimately deemed further study was needed before making that move.
As McCabe said, that’s simply unacceptable.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
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Episode #30 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The State of College Athletics with Dr. David Ridpath: Problems and Potential Solutions – Ridpath is a sports administration professor at Ohio University and a member of The Drake Group, a college sports reform think tank.
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.
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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