By Ken Reed

You know things are trending downward for youth and high school football when one of the game’s classic tough guys recommends that kids play golf instead of football.

Legendary NFL player and coach Mike Ditka recently said young athletes would be better off playing golf than football due to safety issues. He’s especially concerned about brain trauma and the neurological condition chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which results from repetitive blows to the head.

“Well, let’s say you’re a father right now, and you’ve got a … [young] kid. So what do you tell them?” Ditka said.

“People ask me the question. I would never discourage my son from playing football or baseball or anything else, but I would probably say ‘Hey, listen, you ought to try golf.’ Seriously.

“And I think that’s what’s going to happen to a degree. And that’s just the way it’s going to be.”

Ditka said he loves the game of football and what it’s done for him personally but doesn’t see how the facts of the game’s dangers can be ignored. He said people need to be honest about the game’s brain trauma problem.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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