Last March I gave President Obama an F for his first, trivial remarks on football’s traumatic brain injury crisis. See https://concussioninc.net/?p=5382.
In a new interview with The New Republic, the president does a little better. Perhaps he is emboldened by reelection, as well as more informed and thoughtful:
“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.
“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.”
Let’s hope that over time Obama becomes more worried still about public high school and pee-wee league players, and also disabuses himself of the fantasy that bloodsport is fixable for kids by “changing gradually” — or at all.