The Athlete’s Dilemma: Sacrificing Health for Wealth and Fame by John Weston Parry examines the health-related transgressions and hot-topic issues in America’s top spectator sports, particularly in football, baseball, hockey, soccer, cycling, tennis, and Olympic competitions. Parry delves into the unique health risks that pertain to each individual sport and scrutinizes how the various leagues and organizations have handled these issues. Controversies and scandals surrounding elite athletes are also included, highlighting the need for changes in how sports are governed and regulated in the United States and worldwide.
From football and soccer players returning to the field too soon after concussions to Olympic athletes using performance-enhancing substances, The Athlete’s Dilemma provides a broad perspective on the health risks prevalent in sports and what can be done to reduce these risks in the future. Accessibly written yet carefully researched, this book will be of interest to athletes of all levels, sports fans, academics, and health professionals.
In The Athlete’s Dilemma, John Weston Parry builds a compelling case that numerous health-related crises are impacting our athletes—from the pro level to the youth level—due to a combination of a laissez-faire approach to sports industry regulation in this country, and win-at-all-costs and profit-at-all-costs ethos. The result is a sports world that is indeed pathological.
— Ken Reed, sports policy director for the League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
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John Parry has written a wonderfully readable tour de force of a book on the dangers of athletic cutthroat competition. In my experience as a forensic neuropsychiatric expert there is an all too steep and slippery a slope from narcissistic to neurological injury, from basking in the glory and freedom of being a “modern gladiator” to traveling back to the brutality and slavery that were the epitaphs of the Roman gladiator. A must read for all of us, experts and fans, athletes and parents.
— Harold J. Bursztajn M.D., co-founder, Program in Psychiatry and the Law at Harvard Medical School
Table of contents for The Athlete’s Dilemma: Sacrificing Health for Wealth and Fame:
PART I: PAIN, INJURIES, DRUGS, AND TEAM DOCTORS
Chapter 1: Real Men Play Hurt
Chapter 2: Teammates, Coaches, Fans, and Other Unhealthy Influences
Chapter 3: RG3’s Painful Stay in Washington
Chapter 4: The Pitfalls of Team-Directed Medical Care
PART II: PERFORMANCE-ENHANCING SUBSTANCES: THE PERILOUS SEARCH FOR THE HOLY GRAIL
Chapter 5: Performance-Enhancing Measures: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Chapter 6: Baseball’s Tarnished Legacy
Chapter 7: Football’s Brazen Lack of Compliance
Chapter 8: Cycling, Olympic Sports, and WADA
Chapter 9: The Laissez-Faire Approach To Doping in Tennis
Chapter 10: The IOC, WADA, IAAF, and State-Sponsored Doping in Russia
Chapter 11: Regulating PEDs to Promote Athletes’ Health
PART III: PHYSICAL AND MENTAL IMPAIRMENTS
Chapter 12: A Litany of Sports-Related Impairments
Chapter 13: Football Concussions in the NFL: Myths, Deceptions, Denials, and Lies
Chapter 14: Concussion-Related Lawsuits Filed against the NFL
Chapter 15: Football’s Unholy Trinity: Brain Traumas, Bounties, and Deliberate Injuries
Chapter 16: Children Playing Football: The NFL’s Achilles Heel
Chapter 17: Following Suit: Concussions in the NHL and NCAA Football
Chapter 18: Concussion Concerns for Female Athletes
Chapter 19: Brain and Other Severe Injuries in Baseball
PART IV: WHY ELITE ATHLETES SACRIFICE THEIR HEALTH
Chapter 20: Performance-Risk Rewards Undermine Health
Chapter 21: Arm Injuries to Elite Young Pitchers in Baseball
Chapter 22: Football Injuries in the NFL and College
Chapter 23: The NCAA Provides Shamefully Inadequate Health Care for Its Student-Athletes
Chapter 24: Stigma, Stereotypes, and Secrecy Undermine Athletes’ Mental Health
The Athlete’s Dilemma: Sacrificing Health for Wealth and Fame by John Weston Parry does an excellent job of exposing less than ethical behavior of the world of elite competitive sports. He provides extensive coverage of the contradictions—and there are many—between the elite athlete’s drive to succeed in a highly competitive, pressure-filled environment with the concomitant costs and consequences to the athlete’s short-term and long-term health. Parry has written an insightful and revealing expose about a sports culture that needs to improve its high quality, ethical treatment of athletes during and after their sports career.
— Mark H. Anshel, professor emeritus, Middle Tennessee State University, and author of In Praise of Failure: The Value of Overcoming Mistakes in Sports and in Life
John Weston Parry is a lawyer, writer, and host of the website and blog sportpatholgies.com. He is the former director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights (1982-2012) and editor/editor-in-chief of the Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter (1979-2011). He has published numerous books and articles on mental disability and health law, diversity, and the rights of persons with disabilities, including Mental Disability, Violence, Future Dangerousness: Myths Behind the Presumption of Guilt (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).
About the author of The Athlete’s Dilemma: Sacrificing Health for Wealth and Fame:
John Weston Parry is a lawyer, writer, and host of the website and blog sportpatholgies.com. He is the former Director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law (1982-2012) and Editor/Editor-in-Chief of the Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter (1979-2011). Since 1977 he has published numerous books and articles on mental disability law and the rights of persons with mental disabilities. In 1987, he received the Manfred Guttmacher Award from the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
This is a very comprehensible legal perspective on injury and doping in sports from an experienced disability rights lawyer and writer. Parry, the former director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights and editor/editor in chief of the Mental and Physical Disability Law Reporter, makes a strong case for a public health approach by the federal government to protect young and elite athletes (amateur to professional) because the many leagues and organizations that regulate sports are “self-serving” for profit. These numerous entities (NCAA, etc.) are “exempt from federal antitrust and other laws.” Some of the many injustices and concerns reported and discussed include playing while injured, using addictive drugs, illegal hits and severe violence, overuse of limbs, concussions and mental impairments, suicide, MRSA infections, drug-testing scandals, lawsuits, bribes and extortion, lack of health care and disability benefits for collegiate athletes, and minimal long-term provisions for retired players. The author provides numerous alarming examples of male and female case studies from football, baseball, basketball, skiing, boxing, hockey, cycling, tennis, etc. The book is divided into four manageable parts, but topics are often repeated with referrals to previous and later chapters. This work will appeal to a broad audience.
Title: The Athlete’s Dilemma: Sacrificing Health for Wealth and Fame
Editor: John Weston Parry
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, Maryland
When most fans watch their favorite sports on television or in person they only see the drama, excitement, and spectacle of the games. In The Athlete’s Dilemma: Sacrificing Health for Wealth and Fame John Parry asks hard questions about our favorite spectator sports—questions about performance enhancing drugs, concussions, and how professional athletes and big-time college players are treated by the various sports establishments. They are important questions that fans should think about even when they are busy cheering.
— Fred Bowen, Washington Post sports columnist for kids and children’s book author
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