President Obama, in an interview with Franklin Foer and Chris Hughes of New Republic, discussed the issue of player safety in football. The President stated that, if he had a son, he’d have to “think long and hard before I let him play football.”
The comment has attracted much attention, and varied reactions, during this Super Bowl week. San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said that he would let his son play football, while Baltimore Ravens safety Bernard Pollard opined that the NFL would not exist in 3o years.
As significant as Obama’s statement was, his comments distinguishing the NFL from the NCAA were arguably more interesting:
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.
Of course, the NCAA has been forced to think about this issue due to the class action filed on behalf of former college players suffering from the effects of concussions. Notwithstanding this lawsuit, what do you think the NCAA should do? Create a trust for former players suffering from injuries? Provide medical care for these players? Or do the players assume the risk when they step on the field?