Six years ago, the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program convened a roundtable of thought leaders from across the landscape to explore ways to improve health and safety protections, and grow participation, in youth football. Since then, many efforts have been by made to improve the game, from better coaching programs to, in some cases, limits on practice contact.
Still, participation rates nationally continue to fall, with parents increasingly concerned about brain and other injuries to their children. New knowledge about the impact of repetitive head contact has prompted some leaders to propose holding off on tackle football until high school, or later. Is that the future of football – participation in flag football only until ninth grade? What leadership must be provided, from the NFL to policymakers to coaches, to regain public confidence in the game’s health and safety protections?
Join us Jan. 25 (11:45 am-2:30 p.m.) for a conversation at the Aspen Institute (2300 N St NW, Washington D.C.) about taking next steps to improve the nation’s most-watched sport. The event is free and includes lunch, which starts at 11:45. The conversation will also be streamed live starting at 12:30 pm (scroll down this page on Jan. 25 to watch the event online). Registration is now closed due to seating capacity. You may sign up here to be put on a wait list.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Chris Borland, former San Francisco 49ers linebacker who retired after one year due to concerns about head injuries
- Dr. Robert Cantu, co-founder of the CTE Center at the Boston University School of Medicine; senior advisor to the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee
- Domonique Foxworth, writer, The Undefeated; former NFL cornerback/ex-NFL Players Association president
- Scott Hallenbeck, executive director, USA Football
- Buddy Teevens, head coach, Dartmouth College
- Dr. Andrew Peterson, University of Iowa football team physician; executive committee member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness
- Tom Green, head coach/athletic director, Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Greenbelt, Md.)
- Jennifer Brown Lerner, Aspen Institute policy manager for the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development; mom of flag football player
The conversation will be moderated by Tom Farrey, executive director of the Sports & Society Program, whose reporting on youth football has won national honors, including the Columbia University-Alfred I. Dupont Award with ESPN.
“Future of Football” is part of a new 2018 conversation series by the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program “Future of Sports” The event is open to the public and free, with lunch served, though space is limited. Questions, and requests for media credentials, can be emailed to Jon Solomon, editorial director for the Sports & Society Program.
2016 Project Play Summit panel: Brain Injuries: How much science do we need to act?
Watch // Quotes
Moderator: Mark Hyman, Professor, George Washington University
Kevin Bieniek, Research Fellow, Mayo Clinic
Kate Carr, President and CEO, Safe Kids Worldwide
Dr. Sam Gandy, Prof. of Neurology and Psychiatry, Mount Sinai
Dr. Gerard Gioia, Division Chief, Neuropsychology, Children’s National Health System
Dr. Bennet Omalu, Chief Medical Examiner, San Joaquin County (Calif.) and Professor, University of California-Davis
“Playing Safety” | 2012 Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program roundtable on youth football
“A new study shows that hits to the head, not concussions, cause CTE,” | The Washington Post (2018)
“110 NFL Brains,” New York Times article study that found 110 of the 111 brains examined had disease linked to repeated blows to the head (2017)
“Drew Brees Has a Plan to Save Football,” Wall Street Journal (2017)
“New version of football targets falling youth participation rates,” Associated Press (2017)
“State of Play 2017: Trends and Developments,” Aspen Institute Project Play report that includes the latest participation rates across sports
“Chris Borland Blasts NFL for Hiding CTE Risks,” New York Times (2017)
“Football or basketball? In age of CTE and AAU, it’s a tough call for players, parents,” Washington Post (2017)
“Study Cites Youth Football for Issues,” ESPN (2015)
The Sports & Society Program thanks Marilyn and Michael Glosserman for their generous support of the Future of Sports conversation series.