President Obama Tackles Violence in Football

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The hot topic on the gridiron is concussions and brain injuries. And now the Commander-in-Chief is weighing in on the topic.

He may be a fan of the sport, but President Obama says that if he had a son, considering the impact the games has on players’ bodies, he would think long and hard before allowing his son to play.

Obama tells The New Republic, “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,” says the president of the United States, the father of two young girls. “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.”

He goes on to say that he’s more concerned with the younger players. “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. 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.”

This is a great point. According to the bleacherreport.com, “With the family of Junior Seau filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against the NFL, there are now 199 lawsuits that have been filed by former players against the league for physical and mental problems. “

Since there’s no union in college football, it’s every man for himself. The university will be there initially but if you don’t get drafted, you could be benched for life with medical problems and bills.

And forget about college what about children? According to study from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, unlike in high school and college football, most of the severe hits in youth football occurred during practices. They looked at 7 players in a Virginia youth league between the ages of 7 and 8 and found that the average player in the study sustained 107 head impacts during the course of 9.4 practices and 4.7 games.

So for Obama to say that he would have trepidation about allowing his son, if he had one, to play football, should not be a surprise. Any parent should think long and hard about letting his or her child play this game, because it is not safe. The NFL is trying to make it safer by penalizing helmet –to-helmet hits and other dangerous plays, but the nature of the game is stopping a player from scoring, no matter what it takes.

Serve up your thoughts.

And that’s today’s helping of the Online Dish with Maggie.