ESPN to Present Week-Long Multi-Platform Series: Football at a Crossroads

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ESPN to Present Week-Long Multi-Platform Series: Football at a Crossroads

ESPN will present a week-long, cross-platform series, Football at a Crossroads, starting Friday, Aug. 24.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines and SportsCenter, and ESPN The Magazine (on newsstands Friday) will examine health issues surrounding football at all levels of the sport, from youth football, high school and college football, through semi-pro and professional football.

Football at a Crossroads will continue on Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ET, ESPN) which will include the results of a commissioned poll that asked fans about football and safety.

Friday, Aug. 24

Outside the Lines, SportsCenter

  • NFL Concussion Confidential: What NFL players think about a variety of topics, including safety and concussions. Bob Ley reports.
  • High School Concussion Confidential: What high school players think about concussions and safety issues. Ley reports.

ESPN The Magazine on

  • NFL Concussion Confidential: Ryan Hockensmith reports
  • High School Concussion Confidential: Hockensmith reports

Sunday, Aug. 26

Outside the Lines, SportsCenter

  • Al and Nick Toon: Former NFL receiver Al Toon and his son Nick, a new Orleans Saints rookie, discuss their passion for football and the dangers of the game. Mark Schwarz reports.
  • ESPN POLL (also appearing on and in ESPN The Magazine): Fans answer questions about football and safety, from Pop Warner to the NFL.

  • Testing: Neuropsychological testing isn’t a panacea and may be a disaster. ESPN The Magazine’s Peter Keating reports.

Monday, Aug. 27

Outside the Lines, SportsCenter

  • Quitting the game: Some players say they are choosing quality of life and family over professional football: Jacob Bell, an eight-year veteran, abruptly retired a month after signing with the Bengals, saying he wanted to get out before the game forced him out; Chad Diehl, an undrafted Clemson fullback, suffered a concussion during Senior Bowl practice and quit after incurring another at Ravens rookie mini-camp. Steve Delsohn reports.

  • The Risk: A discussion with former NFL players about whether the risk of injury was worth playing. Wright Thompson reports.
  • Concussion Connections: The prevailing narrative for aging athletes who have killed themselves in recent years is that head injuries sustained long ago on playing fields laid the groundwork for a downward spiral of depression and suicide. While in some cases that may be true, researchers and medical experts, including leaders in the study of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), cautioned against rushing to judgment. Mike Fish reports.
  • NFL Insurance: The NFL faces an uncertain future in terms of insurance companies, now that one seeks to separate itself from the league because of concerns over covering the league on concussion-related cases. Darren Rovell reports.

Tuesday, Aug. 28

Outside the Lines, SportsCenter

  • Can Youth Football be Safe? Thirteen-year-old Donnovan Hill from Lakewood, Calif. suffered a spinal fracture while making the type of head-first tackle he says was encouraged by his youth coaches. Tom Farrey reports. Text version on

  • Effects on High School Game: Profiles several high school players who have quit football either because of concussions or overall safety concerns. Report by Brandon Parker for RecruitingNation

ESPN The Magazine

  • Neither Saint Nor Sinner: During the lockout, the Cleveland Browns’ Scott Fujita spoke – on behalf of the Players Union – about the health of veteran players. But a year later, he’s taking heat for his role in Bountygate, accused of chipping in money to encourage injuries to opponents. David Fleming reports that Fujita’s story is a microcosm of the NFL as a whole..

 Wednesday, Aug. 29

Outside the Lines, SportsCenter

  • Semi-Pro football: Even the death of Napoleon, Ohio’s David Coleman after a particularly hard hit hasn’t stopped the men who pay to play in so-called “semi-pro” football leagues, sometimes wearing questionable gear. OTL focuses on the Crossroads Football League with teams from across Indiana and Western Ohio. Kelly Naqi reports.

  • Canadian Football League: Concussion-related issues exist both in the CFL and for those playing in the National Football League, though anecdotally the CFL game appears home to fewer violent hits and a smaller percentage of former players suffering the effects of traumatic brain injuries. Unlike the NFL, which faces a class-action lawsuit brought by nearly 3,000 players or their family members, the Canadian league isn’t hounded by a pack of aggressive attorneys. Mike Fish reports.
  • Semi-Pro Death: The tragic death of Napoleon, Ohio’s David Coleman. Kevin Van Valkenburg reports.

Thursday, Aug. 30

Outside the Lines, SportsCenter

  • Concussion Technology: Helmet technology that can detect concussion-level impact on every play exists, so why isn’t the NFL using it? Bob Holtzman reports.

  • College Studies: A look at university research being conducted with collegiate athletes – how they are being tested, where the studies are going on, what’s being studied and more. Kevin Van Valkenberg reports.
  • Safer: Ten ways to make the NFL safer. Jeffri Chadiha reports.

ESPN The Magazine on

  • Future of Football:  A look at what football will be like in the future, why some people think it’s going to die, and how the sport is so linked with American ethos that its decline is synonymous with the decline of our country itself. J.R. Moehringer essay.
  • Concussion Confidential Interactive: ESPN surveyed 48 NFL players and 320 prep players for tough answers on sensitive concussion subjects.



Dan Quinn

I arrived in Bristol in 1991 to help launch ESPN Radio. Currently Associate Manager, Communications, working on our news-and-information platforms, particularly all things SportsCenter, as well as Outside the Lines and our Bureau Reporters. Also responsible for ESPN’s Weekly Enterprise Journalism Release, and a regular contributor to the company’s site.
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