Thursday, October 30, 2014

I Am a (Fiduciary) Zealot, for I BELIEVE

I admit it. I'm a "believer." Yes, I am even a "fiduciary" zealot.

I believe when you say, "I act in my client's best interest," it means never placing your interests above that of the client. No caveats. I believe that core fiduciary duties cannot be waived by clients, nor can disclaimers of fiduciary duties be upheld as legitimate.

I believe when you say, "I provide objective advice," it means that conflicts of interest are avoided.

I believe conflicts of interest cannot just be "disclosed away," and that if a conflict of interest is unavoidable then full and complete disclosure must be affirmatively undertaken in a manner to ensure client understanding and to secure the client's informed consent, and even then that the suggested course of action remain substantively fair to the client. For no client would ever consent to harm.

I believe when you say, "I am a fiduciary," it means that you cannot push proprietary products, engage in principal trading, receive additional compensation for recommending one product over another, receive revenue sharing payments (including payments for shelf space or 12b-1 fees), or even receive soft dollar compensation.

I believe when you hold out as an advisor (as opposed to a salesperson), whether by use of the terms "financial consultant" or "financial advisor" or "financial planner" or "wealth manager" or any other similar terms, or by using designations such as CFP(r) or ChFC, you represent yourself as a trusted advisor, and should accordingly act as such at all times. I believe that holding yourself out as a trusted advisor, and not accepting fiduciary status and its burdens and restraints upon conduct, is tantamount to fraud.

I believe that each person should honestly, and forthrightly, say what he or she does, and then should do what he or she says.

I believe that once you accept fiduciary status toward a client, it extends to all aspects of your professional relationship of the client, and that the fiduciary hat cannot be removed.

I believe it is not possible to wear two hats at one time. (And a lot of jurists agree with me.)

I believe that, by either holding out as a trusted financial advisor, or acting as same, you are bound to exercise a professional level of due care, requiring expertise and experience and sound judgment.

I believe, to paraphrase the late Justice Benjamin Cardoza, that the fiduciary standard should not be diminished by "particularized exceptions" which are developed over time.

I believe that I am a steward of my clients' wealth. It is not there for me to play with. I must deal with it prudently, and wisely, applying my vast knowledge of the workings of the capital markets to seek to achieve my client's lifetime financial goals.

I believe I am a professional, and that we, as professionals, place the interests of the public ahead of our own.

I believe as a trusted expert advisor I am entitled to professional-level compensation - not more, and not less.

I believe that the application of a bona fide fiduciary standard to personalized investment advice, in this ever-more complex financial world, is inevitable. Perhaps not this year, or even this decade. Perhaps not even in my lifetime. But some day.

I believe that promotion of the fiduciary standard will continue, as advocates (such as those in The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard - continue to seek to aid our fellow Americans to receive the honest, trusted advice they all so richly deserve.

I believe that, following the imposition of a bona fide fiduciary standard for all providers of financial and investment advice, the demand for financial planning and investment advice will soar, Americans will become more trusting of the capital markets, the cost of capital will decline, and fuel will be provided to propel America's economy forward.

I believe in the Fiduciary Oath. I believe every single consumer of financial and investment advice should absolutely insist upon the signature of his or her financial or investment advisor to such oath.

I believe that fairness will prevail over greed, right over wrong, and trust over betrayals of trust.

I believe.

I will continue to believe.

Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP(r) serves as Asst. Professor in the Business Department at Alfred State College, where he serves as Curriculum Coordinator for its Financial Planning Program. To learn more about Ron, please view

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Walk with Grandfather, 20 Years Ago

On a cool Spring morning in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Grandfather's pace quickened as the hill was crested. His wooden walking staff, at six feet long nearly as tall as Grandfather's slightly stooped frame, cracked with an escalating rhythm upon the granite street as we approached the park.

Grandfather paused before entering upon the dirt path ahead. Reaching down he picked a fresh green leaf from a small tree. Holding the solitary leaf up in the yellow light of the early morning sun, his eyes peered through the thick lenses of his black-rimmed eyeglasses as he sensed the leaf's light green color. His finger gently traversed the texture leaf's spine and ribs. Slowly he turned, handing me the leaf, his gaze now directed at my eyes. Clutching the leaf, I resumed my place to his left as he turned right to resume his daily sojourn down the pebbled path of the park.

As I approached mid-life, I began to sense a lack of purpose in my life. Many wonderful experiences I had enjoyed, such as the birth of my children, my wedding day, and graduations and the sense of accomplishment each had brought forth. I had been blessed with the experience of sailing across the Atlantic and back on a barkentine. I treasured the trophies and awards obtained in both team and individual sports and endeavors - rowing, football, track, and the rifle drill team competitions. Yet, more recently, I began to reflect upon whether the choices I had made led a a life which would be, ultimately, devoid of fulfillment.

So I turned to the wisest man I knew, traveling to the home of my maternal Grandfather, John Ferguson. Born in Scotland just before the end of the 19th Century, he survived a journey as an infant on a sailing ship to South Africa, where his own father, a pharmacist, had decided to settle. Like me he was an avid reader throughout his life, which no doubt had a role in Grandfather's attainment as a Rhodes scholar. He pursued a career in medicine, eventually teaching at Harvard, Michigan, and Alabama before landing his own family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There he taught, undertook pioneering research in blood chemistry, and wrote books and many scholarly papers.

Now long retired, having outlived two wives, he lived alone near the campus of the University of North Carolina. Distinguished with his silver hair and warm smile, he continued to write, and occasionally traveled in pursuit of additions to his collection of 30,000 shells from around the world. His six children and thirteen grandchildren visited him often, though nearly all had scattered to distant parts of the country.

I, myself, had now traveled north from Florida to enjoy once again my Grandfather's company. I knew I would be entertained with a game of shuffleboard on the court nestled in a small garden near his back door. I knew I would enjoy another perusal of his vast collection of books, and that I would savor the Earl Grey tea and biscuits he served each afternoon.

Yet, I was also there to pose him a most serious question. Not long after my morning arrival for a day-long visit, Grandfather senses my unease. Never one to pry, he ate his breakfast mostly in silence, as if he knew an inquiry would be forthcoming.

After the breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast was consumed, I began. "Grandfather, I have come to you with a personal concern." Grandfather's eyes were warm and inquisitive, as I continued. "Each day in my law practice I see clients who have been taken advantage of. It seems as if greed has conquered reason. I see the damages. And I see the resulting suffering. I wonder if I made the right choices. Should I have followed in your footsteps, and become a healer and a researcher? Have I made a great mistake?"

Grandfather sipped the last of his coffee, saying nothing for a while. My heart pounded as I waited; each passing minute seemed like an hour. Rising and clearing his dishes from the table, he said, "Come join me for my morning walk." He then proceed to done his tweed coat and he took ahold of his walking stick.

At 94 years of age, Grandfather would likely outpace many half his age. As we ventured forth into the park, the path proceeding down a slight decline before rising again up another hill, I found myself somewhat winded as I struggled to maintain his pace. Finally, a full thirty minutes from the start of our walk, Grandfather halted beneath a tree at the top of the hill. The crisp breeze of an early April morning cooled us, as he began his lesson.

"Opportunism abounds," he stated, as he gazed over the skyline of the distant university. "It has always been such, and it will always be. At times altruism fails, and greed becomes more prevalent. But not all opportunism is bad; the profit motive drives part of humanity forward. Ethical standards counter opportunism, especially for professions. The relations of men evolve over time, always seeking the proper balance for the times in which we find ourselves. These are things you cannot control. But you can influence where the balance should lie, as humanity proceeds down its path."

I reflected upon his words, seeking to commit each one to memory. There was truth there ... control the things you can control, and do not worry about those matters outside one's ability to alter. Seek to influence the laws and rules and mores which govern the relations of men, in order to better achieve the desired balance between capitalism with no regulation and a society in which ethical standards constrain conduct.

After a time, Grandfather continued, now addressing my primary question. His answer to my concern regarding my career choice was unexpected. He began, "Each week when I go to the grocery store, I make certain I depart through Joan's check-out line. And each week I am greeted by her smile, pleasant demeanor, and expression of gratitude as I complete my purchase. I note that her line always seems the longest at the store, for there are other regulars who also frequent her.  Although it is not required of her, each and every day, with her smile and expressions, Joan makes a positive impact on the lives if others."

Grandfather paused at the top of a hill, his gaze surveying the landscape around him. "One need not be a physician to do good in this world. The sanitation worker performs an essential function, and he contributes as well at the leader of a bible study at his church. The young single mother who lives down the street works hard, and struggles financially, yet still waves as she passes me by in her car in the way to work each morning, and she endeavors to provide her children with a youth full of vibrant experiences and instilled values."

Pausing his teachings for several moments, Grandfather then turned to face me. Looking into my eyes, he said, "Each of us was provided with certain gifts. Those gifts are not all the same. You need not become me, in order to accomplish great things in your life. The key is this ... discover your unique gifts, and use them to make as positive an impact upon as many as you can, in the limited time you possess upon this earth."

Reflecting upon what seemed at once magical words of wisdom from one I so admired, I accompanied Grandfather home, again challenged to maintain his walking pace. With every fourth step his walking can tapped the pavement. After returrning to his home, I enjoyed the rest of the day with him, as he explained shells from his collection and shared biscuits and tea. I enjoyed his company in the warmth if his rustic old home.

Many years have passed since that day, and Grandfather's subsequent passing a few years later. Since that day I discovered that my conversation with Grandfather that Spring morning was the beginning of a journey of self-discovery. These years have been an exploration of the motivations behind our lives, a rewarding search for illumination for insights into the human condition, and a renewed desire for self-improvement aided by self-reflection as well as insights from others in the world.

My journey these past twenty years has been filled with the passion flowing grom the growth of personal relationships. I have possessed the opportunity to share wisdom, and to motivate others, thereby enabling others to succeed. I have also sought further self-illumination through an exploration of wisdom, both ancient and contemporary. And, as Grandfather, suggested, I have used the gifts bestowed upon me to assist in the promotion of a cause (although much work remains to be done).

I have, in the process, found more happiness than I ever thought possible. I discovered a zest for life, which continues to this day. I have found treasure in the many relationships, both personal and professional, I have formed. I have found new depth in the relationships with family. I have given of myself; yet I received back from others more than I ever thought possible.

Thank you, Grandfather, for influencing me so greatly.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tibble v. Edison Reviewed by U.S.SupCt - But Are the Right Facts Being Considered?

During its 2014-15 term, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the following issue in the case of Tibble v. Edison: "Whether a claim that ERISA plan fiduciaries breached their duty of prudence by offering higher-cost retail-class mutual funds to plan participants, even though identical lower-cost institution-class mutual funds were available, is barred by 29 U. S. C. §1113(1) when fiduciaries initially chose the higher-cost mutual funds as plan investments more than six years before the claim was filed.”

I find the U.S. Department of Justice's arguments in Tibble v. Edison persuasive:  .

Yet, what bothers me at first glance, from a reading of the U.S. Department of Justice's brief (in support of Supreme Court review of this issue), is the lack of understanding as to why ERISA plan sponsors must review plan investment choices periodically, and hence the lack of arguments made over this point. The reasons are numerous:

  1. Mutual funds can change their investment strategies over time;
  2. Fund managers can change;
  3. Investment companies and their investment advisers may deserve heightened scrutiny due to legal concerns and/or compliance violations; and
  4. Over time fees and costs within a fund can change - by action of the investment adviser, by an increase or decrease in portfolio turnover rate, by larger market impact costs (either due to the fund's increased size, or for index funds because other funds may now be tracking the same index). 
Even if the risk attributes and investment strategies and fees and costs of the fund stay the same, mutual fund management does not exist in a vacuum.

For example, economies of scale may exist with the mutual fund industry and/or better, lower-cost service providers may be secured, which cause mutual funds' annual expense ratios to decline over time. Competitive forces may drive down management or other fees throughout the mutual fund industry. If no due diligence is undertaken by the plan sponsor, the plan participants will end up overpaying, to their detriment.

Additionally, new investment strategies emerge. The investment strategy followed by a fund may be disproven by new research, or simply unable to maintain an advantage due to a rush of investors (or other fund managers) to also use the strategy. New investment strategies will appear which take advantage of new insights from academic research.

The arguments by Edison in this case revolve around the langauge of the statute - i.e., that the 6-year statute of limitations runs from the date of an "action" undertaken by the plan sponsor. But such is a very narrow view of "action." Due diligence is required on an ongoing basis. (At least annually, in my view - although in this case the plan's board of trustees met quarterly.) If there exists a duty of due care, which includes prudence and due care, then that duty is met by an action taking place; othersie the duty of due care is not fulfilled. Fulfilling the duty of due care requires that a decision take place, by the plan sponsor. Even a decision to not change the fund line-up is an "act" - in this regard.

I hope that the facts brought forth at the trial in the Tibble v. Edison case permit these arguments to be made, as to why a continuing duty to monitor investment choices by an ERISA plan fiduciary exists. And I hope that the U.S. Department of Justice, or the appellants, or others permitted to file amicus briefs, will be able to argue these points.

Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP(r) serves as Program Director of the Financial Planning Program at Alfred State College, Alfred, New York. He also serves as 2013-4 Chair of the Steering Group of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard. He may be reached at

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Gresham's Dynamic: Why Bad Actors Dominate Financial Services

Economist George Akerlof wrote about “Gresham’s dynamic” in his famous 1970 article, "The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism." This paper by discussed information asymmetry, which occurs when the seller knows more about a product than the buyer. (A lemon is a slang term for a car that is found to be defective only after it has been bought.) Later, Akerlof, Michael Spence, and Joseph Stiglitz jointly received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 for their research related to asymmetric information.

In his paper, Akerlof wrote: “Dishonest dealings tend to drive honest dealings out of the market. The cost of dishonesty, therefore, lies not only in the amount by which the purchaser is cheated; the cost also must include the loss incurred from driving legitimate business out of existence.” Akerlof posited that Gresham’s Law – or Gresham’s Dynamic as he employed it and called it – wasn’t just related to money; it also applied to all businesses. In essence, businesses run with bad ethics tend to drive those who possess good ethics out of the market. Obviously, this is not the result our society desires.

What can counter Greham's Dynamic? Fiduciary duties are critical means of countering the problem of information asymmetry in the financial markets. Given that information symmetry is so vast, no amount of disclosure can empower consumers to make good choices.

In fact, academic research has revealed that not only do consumers possess behavioral biases which prevent the effectiveness of disclosures, but also that the sell-side of financial services industry is trained to take advantage of these shortcomings. In essence, Wall Street adores consumers, and trains its work force to construct relationships based on trust and confidence with its customers in order to sell expensive and poor investment products. This is why a bona fide fiduciary standard, applying the principles set forth in SEC vs. Capital Gains Research Bureau (the seminal 1963 U.S. Court decision in this area), requires much more than mere disclosure of a conflict of interest. You simply cannot disclose away your core fiduciary obligation of loyalty. Because no client would provide informed consent to be harmed.

There is a solution, however, to the problem of actors with bad ethics dominating the financial services industry. This solution finds its existence throughout the history of capitalism. It is simply this - the existence of fiduciaries enable consumers of financial products and services to hire trusted experts. These experts are "purchaser's representatives" equipped with the knowledge and skill to discern good investment products from bad investment products. They use this skill not in self-dealing activities fostered by bad ethics, but under the good ethics promulgated by the fiduciary standard of conduct.

Hence, the solution to the problem of vast information asymmetry in the financial markets can be found with the application of a principles-based fiduciary standard of conduct. It imposes a restraint on greed which no other form of regulation can accomplish. Perhaps this is why the fiduciary standard is opposed by Wall Street and its proxies so vehemently.

While the solution seems simple, the background against which regulation should be taking place is quite muddy. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), long ago captured by the very industry it regulates, has steadily weakened the fiduciary duties of investment advisers over time. It now permits core fiduciary obligations to be waived by consumers (despite the anti-waiver requirement found in the express language of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940). The SEC, incapable of seeing the limits of disclosure, permits dual registrants to disclose away conflicts of interest, with no requirement that the transaction continue to be in the best interests of the consumer. [For more on this inappropriate disclaimer of fiduciary duties, see my prior post.]

Under pressure from Wall Street, the SEC has also been most hesitant to apply fiduciary duties to the advisory relationships of brokers who provide personalized investment advice. [For more on this point, visit my post on the undue influence of Wall Street at the SEC.] As of early October 2014, the SEC has delayed decision on this issue again, as yet another economic analysis is now being undertaken by the agency. Let us hope that the economic analysis will focus not on the cost/benefits to Wall Street - we know Wall Street firms will shrink over time if broad, bona fide fiduciary standards are imposed. Let us hope, instead, that the economic analysis will focus on the capital markets and investor protection - the SEC's mandates. As I have written about previously, the fiduciary standard is pro-growth, pro-business, and pro-consumer. In fact, it is essential for the future economic health of our economy, and it is essential to better secure the financial futures of our fellow Americans.

Sadly, I don't have much confidence that the SEC will act anytime soon, or that if it acts that it will reverse its course over the past few decades and apply a bona fide, non-waivable fiduciary standard upon all those financial and investment advisers in relationships of trust and confidence with their clients. The result will be many more Aunt Beas, whose financial futures are ruined by betrayals of trust and poor ethical standards.

There is possible help for some consumers, potentially coming from the courageous Phyllis Borzi at the U.S. Dept. of Labor. In early 2015 we hope that the Administration will permit the DOL to release for comment new rules which we hope will apply a strict fiduciary standard of conduct to advisors of defined contribution plans (i.e., 401ks, etc.) and IRA accounts. However, even this proposal may never see the light of day due to huge Wall Street financial contributions to the campaign coffers of those in Congress, and due to their influence at the White House and U.S. Department of the Treasury.

What can consumers do? Ask the right questions. Unfortunately, to find a financial and/or investment advisor who is truly committed to your best interests, and who eschews conflicts of interests (and their detrimental effects on consumers), involves a "deep dive" into the advisor's business practices. Consumers - the SEC won't protect you. So, consumers, ask the right questions to find one of those few thousand investment advisers who, despite Gresham's Dynamic, have not been driven from the marketplace.

Ron A. Rhoades, J.D., CFP(r) serves as Chair of the Steering Group of The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard, whose "Fiduciary Oath" should be required of all those who provide personal financial advice. See 

For a longer checklist consumers can use - to ask the tough questions, visit this article on this blog: 

Ron is Asst. Prof. of Business at Alfred State College, where he serves as Program Chair for its Financial Planning Program. Ron may be contacted at 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Unsafe at Nearly Any Speed - Why I No Longer Cheer on My Beloved Football Teams

I loved football.

I played football - on offense (wide receiver) and defense (defensive end) and special teams. I enjoyed every minute of playing. I got hurt several times, but I got back up and kept playing; so much was my love of the game.

I coached high school football, for a brief period of time, as an assistant coach under the late John Rauch, after he retired as head coach of the Oakland Raiders and took a high school coaching job to "get out of the house." He was an impressive mentor.

I loved watching college football. My beloved Florida Gators football team drew my attention faithfully nearly every Saturday in the Fall. When I resided in Florida I attended at least one game a year, and sometimes several. For over 30 years I have cheered on my Florida Gators, through good times (of which there have been many) and through not-so-impressive seasons.

I enjoyed pro football, as well, and watched the occassional game. Each year for as long as I can remember I would root for one or more teams in the playoffs, and I enjoyed the spectacle of the Super Bowl.

I also, on occasion, would attend local high school football games, cheering on one team and its players - often children of friends of mine.

But no more. I will neither attend, nor watch, any more football games.

I will not follow the scores, nor the rankings.

I am sad ...

"Why?" - you may ask, would I eschew the sport that I love.

Because I can no longer rationalize that my pleasure, derived from participants in the sport, is worth the costs - the damage which occurs to the brains of the players.

While the research varies, studies show that football players are far, far more likely to develop brain trauma-related illness than non-players. And studies show that the risk to high school students is far greater than that to college athletes.

As the truth about football - and the effect of concussions as well as sub-concussive hits on the minds of players - has become known, I find myself worrying about the players in the trenches, who bash helmet against helmet on nearly every play. The joy of the game is gone.

A week before I wrote this post I was attending a college football game. Fans cheered with every score and big play. The second loudest cheers seemed to be for "big hits" - when a player was blindsided or blacked or tackled with such force that he was left on the ground. A few players in the game were, as a result, very slow to get up. Some only arose with the aid of athletic trainers. As others cheered on the big hits, I found myself extremely uncomfortable - both in viewing the hit, and with regard to the cheering which occurred around me.

But wait, you say. Are not the NFL and NCAA are going to find ways to make the game safer? They have. Helmet technology has improved. More helmets have been designed which score "5" on a scale of 1-5. (Yet, if one were to award helmets a "10" for full protection of the brain, I doubt even these better helmets would score at "2.") Also, rules have been changed to better protect players.

But the undeniable truth is that mass times acceleration equals force. The number of "big hits" may be declining due to rule changes. Helmet technology has improved. Yet, both concussive and  subconcussive hits continue to affect that most soft of organs, the brain.

Football is a sport that is unsafe at nearly any speed.

I remember when Princess Diana was killed, while in the back seat of a Mercedes Limo. While she traveled in a well-built and safe car with all kinds of safety systems (seatbelts and air bags among them), Mercedes opined about the accident something like: "No amount of engineering and safety measures can defeat the laws of physics."

But, you opine - the players know the risks; they choose to play anyway and get paid millions! The reality is that, until recently, many professional players were not aware of the risks. And college players and high school players don't get paid, at all.

So here's a question ... if you are a parent, and permit your child to play football, are you guilty of negligence?

Of course, you might say that football develops character. I concur wholeheartedly. But so do other sports that have none of the long-term, insidious effects of football on so many of its participants.

Other sports also serve to create jobs, and unite communities. If I, and many others, simply shift our support (as fans) to other sport teams, jobs will continue, and communities will remain united.

I simply cannot provide support to a business (and that is what professional football, and much of college football, is today) that does so much harm to so many of its participants. If I were to continue my support, as a fan, I would be guilty of contributing to unnecessary harm imposed on others, for my own self-enjoyment.

I will miss football. I will miss it dearly.

Ron A. Rhoades, JD, CFP(r) is an Assistant Professor of Business at Alfred State College, Alfred, NY. He is also an attorney (Florida), financial planner, and investment adviser. To learn more about Ron, please visit 

UPDATE ... after several days, I've been successful. I don't even know the scores of last weekend - even for my beloved Florida Gators football team. It may take me some time to overcome the feelings of withdrawal, but the cause is a just one.

UPDATE ... Many articles and blog posts are appearing on this subject. Including ... ... which notes a recent study stating: "New helmets are not going to prevent new cases of CTE."

UPDATE ... another academic study 11/24/14: "In the NFL, other professional sports and especially school sports, concern has grown about the long-term neuropsychiatric consequences of repeated mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and specifically sports-related concussive and sub-concussive head impacts." Discussed at: "Football players found to have brain damage from mild 'unreported' concussions"

UPDATE ... "researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., say some high school football players in the study exhibited measurable brain changes after a single season of play, even in the absence of concussion."

UPDATE ... another academic study, on the effect of trauma on the brain - how it interferes (over the long term) with the brain's waste removal system, possibly (probably?) leading to the onset of CTE, Alzheimers', etc.

UPDATE ... "[I]t was thought that only concussions could result in any meaningful harm. New studies indicate, however, that “repeated blood-brain barrier disruption(s)” can result in brain damage. Even if football players never suffer a concussion, they’re still at severe risk of permanent brain injury. According to the Sports Concussion Institute, football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males with a 75 percent chance ... The questions remains: Are we willing to accept these risks for a game?"

UPDATE ... "Knock to the Head: A High School Football Player's Story of Traumatic Brain Injury" (Dec. 8, 2014) " The first thing to know about concussions is that they occur far more often than you might think. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Injury Prevention, 47 percent of high school football players are diagnosed with a concussion each season, with 35 percent of those reporting multiple concussions in a single season. But those statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. Saying that the number of concussions that occur each year in high school football can be represented by the number of concussions that were diagnosed by doctors is like saying that the number of Americans that speed in their cars per year can be represented by the number of people who have received speeding tickets. The reality is a lot more drivers are speeding, and a lot more football players are receiving concussions. The American College of Sports Medicine estimates that some 85 percent of concussions go undiagnosed."

UPDATE ... " Half of Americans Don't Want Their Sons Playing Football, Poll Shows" (Dec. 10, 2014)

UPDATE ... Bloomberg, "Even Mike Ditka Thinks Football is Too Dangerous,"

UPDATE ... Boston University Study: Age of first exposure to football and later-life cognitive impairment in former NFL players, "There is an association between participation in tackle football prior to age 12 and greater later-life cognitive impairment measured using objective neuropsychological tests. These findings suggest that incurring repeated head impacts during a critical neurodevelopmental period may increase the risk of later-life cognitive impairment"

UPDATE ... Repeated head blows linked to smaller brain volume, slower processing speeds (boxers, martial arts)