Parental concerns regarding kids’ sports injuries, especially hits to the head which could result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE,) have been prominent concerns for the last few years – highlighted most recently by the revelation that former NFL ball player Junior Seau had CTE when he committed suicide last May.
“I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”
“And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence. In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won’t have to examine our consciences quite as much.”
The NFL has been taking heat for years from former players complaining of a multitude of long-reaching football injuries from their glory days; and more than 3,800 football players have sued the NFL over the last few years specifically because of head injuries.
Just this week, the family of former NFL San Diego Chargers’ linebacker Junior Seau filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NFL after it was discovered that Junior was suffering from a degenerative brain disease linked to repeated hits to the head at the time of his May, 2012 suicide.
“I tend to be more worried about college players than NFL players in the sense that the NFL players have a union, they’re grown men, they can make some of these decisions on their own, and most of them are well-compensated for the violence they do to their bodies,” Obama said.
“You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That’s something that I’d like to see the NCAA think about.”
- Wrongful death: NFL sued by Junior Seau’s family (Video)
- NFL's Junior Seau had brain disease when he committed suicide