Pulitzer Prize-Nominated New York Times Reporter
Head Games: Getting Football and the Public to Understand the Dangers of Sports Related Concussions
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 7:00 PM – Spellmann Center
Anheuser Busch Leadership Room
Alan Schwarz is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter at The New York Times best known for writing more than 100 articles that exposed the seriousness of concussions among football players of all ages. His investigative and profile pieces are generally credited with revolutionizing the respect and protocol for head injuries in almost every major youth and professional sport. Schwarz’s work was profiled in an early 2011 issue of The New Yorker and was described by Hall of Fame sports writer Murray Chass as “the most remarkable feat in sports journalism history.” The New York Times promoted him to National Correspondent for Education in July 2011.
Schwarz's series on football concussions began in January 2007 with a front-page Times story on brain damage found in former Philadelphia Eagle Andre Waters, who recently had committed suicide at the age of 44. The exact name of the disease is chronic traumatic encephalopathy (C.T.E.), an incurable and progressive disorder in which protein deposits gradually compromise brain function. After gathering steam with profiles of current and retired players suffering from post-concussion syndrome and early-onset dementia, the series put concussions on the front burner of football debate and evolved to examine not just N.F.L. issues but the dangers of head trauma in high school and other youth sports, like girls’ soccer and basketball. Subsequently, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee devoted three hearings to the issue of sport-related brain injuries, repeatedly citing Schwarz's work during them.