Add Bo Jackson to the list of people who are against young children playing football. The former football and baseball star expressed his objection to kids putting pads on and hitting the gridiron on Monday during an appearance on SportsCenter.
“It changed even before the big issue came up with concussions,” Jackson said when asked whether the recent controversy over concussions impacted his views on youths playing football. “I’m sitting saying ‘little kids shouldn’t be playing, little kids shouldn’t be going out running into each other like they’re playing in the NFL.'”
One of the more unique things that Jackson said was that he puts a lot of blame on youth coaches. Jackson criticized them for persuading parents into letting their kids play football, even though the coaches themselves never played the game. He also said that the recent movie Concussion “opened your eyes to what really goes on.”
Jackson has long been one of the more forward-thinking people when it comes to concussions in football. Back in 2014, Jackson partnered with Sports Brain to open up a specialized studio at his Illinois training facility to analyze athletes’ brains. Jackson also said this about children playing football last year:
One thing I wouldn’t let my kids do for all the tea in China is this “Friday Night Tykes” thing. The show where they got these little kids playing football and hitting like they’re in the NFL? These kids’ brains aren’t even half developed, and they’re out tackling and getting concussions at 9 and 10 years old … and the parents are sitting up in the stands cheering?
These parents are living vicariously through their kids. When this kid is turning 15 or 16 years old, this kid is not gonna know his name, he’s not gonna know how to get home from school. And they’re letting these guys coach these kids who have never played football outside of high school? That’s like NASA telling one of us, “Why don’t you come and fly this space shuttle next week?”
What do you think? Does Bo know about the way concussions impact children, or are his thoughts on the issue off-base?