In January of 2013, President Obama made a statement that frustrated Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, and he hasn’t forgotten.
Obama said that if he had a son, “I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.”
That’s a normal thought process every parent goes through, but when the President makes a public statement, the repercussions are often magnified. It stuck in Pinkel’s craw.
“I think when the president comes out and makes a statement the way he does without even adding more to it than that, I was just disappointed in the way he came out,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “Certainly, pee wee football is going to analyze (concussions), and that’s good. In terms of making all the safety precautions and helmets checked out, that’s good. I played pee wee football and I don’t ever remember a player getting hurt in pee wee football. If they want to do more investigation and study, I think that’s fine, that’s good. You want to be transparent. But this is a great game and it helps so many people.”
The White House held a youth day summit Thursday attempting to raise more conversation about concussions in youth sports. As part of the $30 million initiative, the NCAA and Department of Defense will create a concussion database for college athletics.
The NCAA already has a policy for treating concussions, but player safety has become a massive issue in the last few years. The NCAA has discussed limiting contact during practice – something Pinkel has done himself – in order to reduce head trauma.
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