ATLANTA – Hours before the sport’s biggest game, President Donald Trump joined the growing ranks of parents anxious over tackle football, saying in an interview he “would have a hard time” letting his 12-year-old son play.
“I mean, it’s a dangerous sport and I think it’s, I, it’s really tough” if his son wanted to take up the game, Trump told CBS before its Super Bowl broadcast Sunday.
The president’s concerns are at odds with his previous criticism that the NFL has been making the game too soft to avoid concussions and other injuries and suggest that he is struggling with many of the same questions that parents across the country are asking about the safety of youth tackle football.
Trump said he would ultimately let his youngest son, Barron, who plays soccer, decide if he wanted to play tackle football and would not steer him away from the sport.
But Trump said he had seen reports about the dangers of playing tackle football and heard that some NFL players were not letting their sons play. His comments added another wrinkle to his ambivalent relationship with the game he often celebrates but also laments. His doubts about its safety come five years after President Barack Obama said that if he had a son, he would not let him play pro football.
Some studies suggest that playing tackle football before 12 puts athletes at a higher risk of developing cognitive problems later in life.
New York Times