On The Next Real Sports, 11/20/2012

On HBO’s Real Sports coming up tonight at 10 ET, the Emmy Award-winning sports newsmagazine will have three stories. One will focus on the horrific story involving the son of former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth, Chancellor, who survived the tragic shooting of his mother and has carried on despite having cerebral palsy.

Another story will look at the role of concussions in college football and how it affects many players in the classroom.

And the last story will be an update on the collapse of the Dallas Cowboys training facility and how it has affected those injured.

We have a full synopsis from HBO Sports.


Now in its 18th season, REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL presents more enterprising features and reporting when its 188th edition, available in HDTV, debuts TUESDAY, NOV. 20 (10:00-11:00 p.m.ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: Nov. 20 (2:55 a.m.), 21 (1:05 a.m.), 23 (10:45 a.m., 8:00 p.m.), 25 (7:30 a.m.), 28 (10:00 a.m., 4:45 p.m.) and 30 (7:00 p.m., 3:20 a.m.), and Dec. 4 (2:30 p.m., midnight)

HBO2 playdates: Nov. 24 (3:30 p.m.), 27 (noon, 8:00 p.m.) and 29 (4:15 p.m.), and Dec. 2 (8:00 a.m.), 5 (11:55 a.m., 12:55 a.m.) and 11 (10:00 a.m., midnight)

HBO On Demand® availability: Nov. 26-Dec. 17

The show will also be available on HBO GO®.

Segments include:

* The Son Rises. Thirteen years ago, Cherica Adams was gunned down on a desolate Charlotte, NC road. Eight months pregnant at the time, she eventually died from gunshot wounds, but her son, Chancellor, miraculously survived. Shortly after the incident, investigators concluded that Adams’ boyfriend – Chancellor’s father – was the mastermind behind the shooting. That man was former Carolina Panthers wideout Rae Carruth, who is currently serving 18 to 24 years at a North Carolina correctional facility. Tragically, Chancellor was left with cerebral palsy as a result of being deprived of oxygen in utero as his mother lay dying. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, host Bryant Gumbel goes to Charlotte to revisit the tragedy that changed so many lives and provides a gripping account of how a young survivor has beaten the odds.

Producer: Chapman Downes.

* Think About Them. More than five years into the concussion crisis that plagues the American football landscape, everyone agrees on one thing: Fewer hits to the head is better for the health of the players. The NFL has drastically reduced the amount of time spent hitting in practice, intending to reduce collisions that can have lifetime impact; so has Pop Warner youth football, as well as many high schools nationwide. But one major sports organization has not: The NCAA. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg uncovers troubling new research suggesting that the amount of brain trauma suffered in college is rewiring the brains of some of these student-athletes, making it difficult to fulfill their primary role as a student. In this expanded segment, he asks the question: What does this mean for tens of thousands of student-athletes playing college football?

Producer: Josh Fine.

* Blue Star Fallen. In May 2009, during a routine rookie mini-camp, the Dallas Cowboys’ indoor practice facility in Irving, Tex. collapsed during a wind and rain storm, leaving special teams coach Joe DeCamillis with a broken neck and scout Rich Behm paralyzed from the waist down. REAL SPORTS’ Jan. 2010 examination of the incident, which was nominated for an Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism, presented accounts from DeCamillis and Behm, an engineer who worked on the facility, and the president of the company that built the faulty structure. Now, correspondent Frank Deford returns to Texas to see what has happened to the people who were injured and to the company.

Producers:  Jake Rosenwasser, David Scott.

REAL SPORTS has won the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Sports Journalism 15 times and has received 23 Sports Emmy® Awards overall. It is the only sports program ever honored with the duPont Award for excellence in broadcast journalism, having first been recognized in 2005. In January, REAL SPORTS received its second duPont Award, for a series of investigative reports on concussions, highlighted by the Aug. 2010 story revealing the scientific link between sports concussions and the onset of ALS. In April, the show received the Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Sports Journalism for Bernard Goldberg’s 2011 report on the college bowl game money trail.

The executive producer of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL is Rick Bernstein; Joe Perskie is senior producer.

HBO also provides another preview of its segment on NCAA football concussions.

Tonight on HBO’s Real Sports (10 p.m. ET/PT), the concussion issue at the collegiate level is explored.  In an expanded segment, Correspondent Bernard Goldberg conducts a wide range of interviews on the hot-button subject, including visits with former players and researchers determined to make the sport safer for the young athletes participating.

Goldberg asks renowned Boston researchers Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu the best way to minimize brain injuries?

FORMER HARVARD UNIVERSITY PLAYER CHRIS NOWINSKI: “Limiting hitting in practice. You could cut in half the exposure by limiting and monitoring hitting in practice. And that’s the only thing that is powerful, by a long shot.”

DR.ROBERT CANTU: “The majority of the hits to the head over a course of a season come from practice because you practice so much more than you play.”

In 2011 during the intense NFL labor negotiations,  Domonique Foxworth, who played cornerback for Atlanta, Baltimore and Denver  –and is now the president of the players union  –delivered the message in no uncertain terms.

BERNIE GOLDBERG: “Was there that moment of ‘Did I hear you right?  Did you say one contact practice a week?’”
DOMONIQUE FOXWORTH: “Their response was: ‘Our coaches aren’t going to go for that.’ But we made it very clear to the leadership of the NFL that we’re gonna write this policy to protect our players, and you’re gonna sign it, and accept it. And if you want to miss a season, then fuck with us on this issue.”

After that other leagues changed their rules too. Pop Warner, the nationwide youth league, made deep cuts in the amount of contact practice allowed and many high schools did, too. But one league has remained a prominent exception: the NCAA.

DEREK OWENS, WHO PLAYED AT CENTRAL ARKANSAS:  “You’re in shoulder pads and helmet, literally, every day except for the day before the game .”

BERNIE GOLDBERG: “You’re takin’ hits three or four times a week? You were having more contact practices than the guys in the pros do.”
DEREK OWENS:  “Uh-huh.”

“I think that it’s more difficult to be a college football player in this day and age than it is to be an NFL player.”
DOMONIQUE FOXWORTH: “The amounts of hits.”

Real Sports filed open records requests for college football records…and spoke with coaches, players, and officials at the college and pro levels. By our math, college players are, on average, exposed to about 70% more hits to the head over the course of a year than NFL players.

I watched the segments for tonight. This is amazing journalism.

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.