Alan Schwarz: Why I’m No Longer Writing About Concussions in The New York Times

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Today I received the following email from Alan Schwarz:



My move out of Sports has been in the works since December. After four years of covering concussions — and after my entire 20-year career being spent in Sports, mostly baseball — I requested a new challenge, and the Times masthead was wonderfully supportive, to the point that they encouraged me to tackle one of the more important beats on the paper, National Education. I did not make the switch until July 5 because there were many loose ends to be tied up — the Duerson situation, some helmet things, some other non-concussion stories, and various personnel shuffling. I also took some time off to recharge my batteries. But the wheels began turning on this in late 2010, and were essentially rolling by February.

The break is clean — I am no longer, officially or unofficially, part of the Sports department. Of course I will contribute things here and there, as I do to other sections — for example, the essay about my son, and the obit on John Mackey. But I have moved — mentally and physically, given my new desk on the third floor – to National Education.

It is not for me to say what the Sports department will do regarding concussions and other head-injury/football matters in the future. Mine was never any sort of concussion “beat” — I just did the work and pursued it with my superiors’ support and guidance, like dozens of other reporters at the paper. You’ll notice I did a lot of other work (baseball, Paralympics, etc.) interspersed during my four years; concussions was my prime focus when it made sense, which was obviously rather often. I am extremely confident that the subject will be covered just as skillfully in my absence.

My leaving Sports was a promotion, not an exile – it was my decision alone, facilitated by a masthead that wanted to reward my work with the prestigious challenge of National
Education. They couldn’t have been nicer about it.

Hope this helps. Take care.



I responded:


Thanks. I’ll post your statement. Happy trails. Whether it’s known as a beat or anything else, I hope The Times carries forward well the important work you pioneered.


1 Comment

  1. […] of headline-grabbing negativism in the NFL right now. Labor peace is guaranteed for a decade, Alan Schwarz has left the concussion beat at the New York Times, and the league’s biggest-name bad boys are getting married, signing […]

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