'Expert Opinion' tackles head injuries, managing athletes, officiating

University Park, Pa. -- Three new episodes of the Big Ten Network's "Expert Opinion with Graham Spanier" take on popular topics in medical news, on the big screen and during game-day debates.

Recent research has shed light on the long-term consequences of athletes' head injuries. In the "Athletes and Head Injuries," Spanier, president of Penn State and the show's host, welcomes panelists Ruben Echemendia, Doug Rheam and Wayne Sebastianelli as they examine the serious health consequences and associated risks posed by concussions and other head trauma sustained by athletes.

Sebastianelli is the Kalenak Professor of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at Penn State and director of athletic medicine for Penn State Athletics. Echemendia, founder of the clinical neuropsychology laboratory at Penn State, is the principal investigator for the University's Cerebral Concussion Program. Rheam is a medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He also is a former walk-on Penn State football player whose career was cut short after he suffered five concussions between his freshman year of high school and sophomore year at Penn State.

The panelists cover topics such as the level of danger athletes face when they step onto the playing field, what happens inside the skull during a concussion and what signs athletes are told to watch for after they experience a head injury.

"Athletes and Head Injuries" debuted at noon Eastern time on Monday, May 31.

"Show me the money!" is a phrase made famous in the 1996 movie "Jerry Maguire," where actor Tom Cruise plays a sports agent representing a professional football player. In the second new "Expert Opinion" show, "Athlete Management and Representation," the experts talk about the realities of the business of "selling" an athlete's talent, worth and, in some cases, brand.

Anthony Adams, Marvin Demoff and Bertram "Bert" Schaeffer join Spanier for the discussion. Adams is a defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears. Demoff is a sports attorney at Morris Yorn Barnes and Levine, where he manages the sports end of the firm. Schaeffer is a senior consultant with RCL Advisors.

The panel explores topics including the public relations benefits and challenges of advising and managing an athlete in the public spotlight, the legal obligations of representatives to their clients, and the risks athletes take in trusting representatives and other intermediaries to manage aspects of their lives.

The "Athlete Management and Representation" edition of "Expert Opinion" is scheduled to begin airing at noon Eastern time on Monday, June 21.

Despite -- or perhaps because of -- the presence of instant replay, not to mention allegations ranging from missed calls to cheating scandals, referees and other sports officials are among the most-maligned groups by players, coaches and fans alike. The second new "Expert Opinion" show, "Inside the World of Officiating" -- with Spanier and guests Bill Carollo, Malcolm Moran and Dave Parry -- offers insight into the work and lives of referees.

Carollo has been the director of Officiating for the Big Ten Conference since 2008. Moran, a sports journalist of 30 years formerly at The New York Times, USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, is director of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State. Parry is the National Coordinator for College Football Officiating, an oversight structure created by the NCAA and the Collegiate Commissioners Association.

The experts discuss the physical and psychological qualities, technical knowledge and evaluative process required for becoming and remaining a sports official at different levels of sports. They also examine recent scandals and changes in the field of officiating, the relationship between referees and players and their coaches, and gray areas, even potential biases, that make foul-calling a challenging pursuit.

"Inside the World of Officiating" is scheduled to air at noon Eastern time on Monday, June 28, on the Big Ten Network.

For more information about "Expert Opinion with Graham Spanier" and to watch past episodes, visit http://expertopinion.psu.edu online. For the most up-to-date Big Ten Network programming schedules, check local listings.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010