It was recently discovered the NFL tried covering up just how devastating football head injuries are to the brain long-term. Will Smith made a movie about it. Now, long-time football broadcaster and analyst Bob Costas recently admitted a shocker — not only would he not let his children play football, he also doesn’t believe the sport will survive long-term.
Costas spoke alongside several other sports columnist and broadcasters at a roundtable discussion at the University of Maryland Tuesday night. He believes the decline of football is the most significant story in American sports.
“The reality is that this game destroys people’s brains,” said Costas …
… “The cracks in the foundation are there,” Costas said. “The day-to-day issues, as serious as they may be, they may come and go. But you cannot change the nature of the game. I certainly would not let, if I had an athletically gifted 12- or 13-year-old son, I would not let him play football.”
Costas also said it should be a “common-sense conclusion” that children shouldn’t play tackle football until they’re 18 years-old, if they play at all.
“But then where’s the talent pool for college? What happens to college football?” Costas continued. “The whole thing could collapse like a house of cards if people actually begin connecting the dots,” he said. – USA TODAY
Washington columnist and ESPN sports TV host Tony Kornheiser agreed, saying, “Bob is right: At some point, the cultural wheel turns just a little bit, almost imperceptibly, and parents say, ‘I don’t want my kids to play.’ And then it becomes only the province of the poor, who want it for economic reasons to get up and out.”
I did a story this past summer on football deaths in America. Although they’ve declined over the decades, it’s truly shocking how many young athletes continue to die on the football field each year. Even more shocking is what we now know about how the brain deteriorates over-time after repeated beatings to the head.
I love football, and so I’m on the fence about this topic. I know if I have a son some day, I’m steering him towards baseball and basketball in particular. Who knows, if Costas is right, in ten years maybe I’m ruling out the sport altogether.