By using this site, you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Close X

Would NFL players let their kids play football?

  • HLN asked Broncos, Seahawks about head injury concerns and their answers may surprise you
  • Seahawks player says that it's 'a tough call'
  • NFL's Super Bowl week began with two stories spotlighting the dangers of playing football
Would NFL players let their kids play football?

"These young players, they have no idea what’s in store for them."

Dallas Cowboys great Rayfield Wright may be suffering from dementia, but he knows exactly what he's talking about when looking at the men playing today in the NFL.

The 6-foot, 7-inch Hall of Famer revealed his illness for the first time Sunday in an interview with The New York Times. As the NFL's Super Bowl celebration was kicking off in New York, the Times' article came out and described how Wright sat crying inside his home near Fort Worth and told a reporter, "I'm scared... I don't want this to happen to me."

While the annual Media Day football circus was going on, former Detroit Lion Jahvid Best, 24, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the NFL and helmet-maker Riddell among others, over the concussions he sustained during his career, which is likely over as a result of those injuries.

This week, HLN asked eight Broncos and Seahawks players whether they'd let their own children play football, given all the new information now available about the effects of head injuries suffered while playing.

Opinion: Why my son will never play football

While many people including Troy Aikman, Kurt Warner and even President Barack Obama have said they wouldn't let their sons play the game, only two Super Bowl players gave anything other than complete endorsements of having their child take the field. One of them was Seattle punter Jon Ryan, who told us, "I think I'd steer him toward the punting thing like I did myself and kind of avoid those kind of head injuries."

Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, on the other hand, said, "I don't really know too much" about the long-term impact of concussions, while confirming that "of course I'd let [my son] play."

As would, it seems, pretty much everyone else in Super Bowl XLVIII. Here are the answers given by each player we asked the following question: "Would you let your child play football, knowing what we do now about head injuries?"

Steven Johnson, Broncos linebacker: "Of course. Football is something that's in your blood, you can't take it out of you. It's a safe sport, you just have to know how to play it safe. Tackle with your head up, run with your head up. You always have to use your hands, basic fundamentals."

"You can get hurt, but you can get hurt doing anything. You only get one life to live, so you might as well do it to the fullest. And that's what we do."

Brandon Mebane, Seahawks defensive tackle: "Yeah, I'd let my son play. I wouldn't let him play, like, I don't think they need to play Pop Warner. I didn't play Pop Warner. I feel like you don't wanna burn them out and get a lot of injuries. I'd rather have them start in high school. I'd have him play flag football."

Ben Garland, Broncos guard: "I would. Football provides so much, like leadership. From a fitness standpoint, you look better, you feel better. I think it helps you out in life in a lot of ways."

"My kids, I'd want them to play sports. I don't care what sport it is. If they have a heart and passion for football, I'd love for them to be able to play it. Every sport has a risk. But to do something they have a passion for? More power to them."

Jon Ryan, Seahawks punter: "That's a tough call. I started playing tackle football at the age of 7. It's always been something I did. I had a number of concussions coming up."

"I think I'd steer him toward the punting thing like I did myself and kind of avoid those kind of head injuries. But that's definitely a tough call. But if I did have more concussions, or if I do have problems when I'm 40 I might answer that question differently. But right now in the moment, things are perfect."

C.J. Anderson, Broncos running back: "Of course. I'd let him play. I don't really know too much about the facts and allegations of what's going on. But yeah, I would let my son play, if he chooses to play. I won't force him into it, that's one thing."

"If you play the game the right way, do things the right way, a lot of things come out in your favor. But I don't really know too much about the concussions or other allegations. I'm just here to play the game."

Clinton McDonald, Seahawks defensive tackle: "My own dad, he didn't want us getting too exposed to the rigors of it too early. I didn't start playing until I was 13. But as of now, with the better equipment, better helmets, I wouldn't mind my son playing football if that's what he wants to do."

DeShawn Shead, Seahawks defensive back: "I'd definitely let him play. If he wants to, if he definitely wants to play football, then I'm not gonna hold him back. I wouldn't necessarily steer him toward it, but if he definitely wanted to do it, I'll allow him to do it."

Malik Jackson, Broncos defensive end: "Oh yeah. It's what I do. How can I tell him not to do something that I do? I know you put yourself in danger when you go out there, but you put yourself in danger when you leave the house."

Jonathan Anker is in New York for the Super Bowl. Follow him on Twitter @JonFromHLN.

Join the conversation... welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.
Let's get personal: Super Bowl players come clean
Super Bowl | See all 125 items Let's get personal: Super Bowl players come clean