Are the health and safety risks associated with playing football worth it for college players? This is the question President Obama is currently asking himself.
The commander-in-chief revealed in an interview with The New Republic that if he had a son, he’d “have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”
President Obama said he’s concerned about the lifelong neurological maladies that football players face — especially college-aged players — and he’s considering making adjustments to make the sport safer.
“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,” Obama said, who is a self-admitted Chicago Bears fan.
“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,” he explained. “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.”
In September, a study published in the journal Neurology found that professional football players are three times more likely than the general public to have neurodegenerative diseases. And when it came to Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the risk for football players increased four times.
“Now, the problem is, if you talk to NFL players, they’re going to tell you, ‘That that’s the risk I take; this is the game I play.’ And I don’t know whether you can make football (be) football if there’s not some pretty significant risk factors,” he said.
What do you think of President Obama’s concern? Should football alter its rules to decrease health and safety risks? Is this a realistic goal for the president? You weigh in.