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 #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. Linda writes extensively about how youth sports can hijack families, and family outings, non-sports activities and bonding time are lost in the pursuit of the next club team game or travel tournament.
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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.
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.
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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