|President Obama is a big football fan but concerned about some of the violence in the game. (AP)|
President Barack Obama says he's a big football fan but if he had a son, “I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”
Football-related head injuries have become such a big issue, Obama was asked about it by The New Republic. The magazine asked Obama whether he enjoys the game less “knowing the impact that the game takes on its players.”
"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," said Obama, who has two daughters. "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.
"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."
Last week, researchers at UCLA found CTE -- chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- in brain scans of living former NFL players.
It was hailed as a major breakthrough by Dr. Julian Bailes of the NorthShore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Ill.
Also last week, the family of Junior Seau sued the NFL, claiming the former linebacker's suicide was the result of brain disease tied to violent football hits. Seau, 43, shot himself to death last May. In posthumous tests, he was diagnosed with CTE.
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