President Barack Obama has filled out March Madness brackets, picked a Super Bowl winner and practiced his golf and hoops around the White House. But the self-proclaimed sports fan admits that when it comes to football, one of his favorite sports, the evidence that is surfacing about long-term effects of injuries has him thinking twice.
“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,” Obama told The New Republic for an article in the Feb. 11 issue, according to Reuters. “… 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 he is especially concerned about college players, who are not getting the same scrutiny and aid as the pro athletes. He said he would like to see the NCAA work harder on dealing with concussions and taking care of long-term health.
“In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting,” he said of changing the style of the game, “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.”
Research has continued to show a connection between concussions and later health concerns, with rule changes or new helmets not necessarily slowing the amount of injuries coming from the hard-hitting game.