Bo Jackson: “I Never Would Have Played Football If I Had Known About Head Injuries”

According to the two-sport icon himself, there was one thing Bo didn’t know — head injuries.

The former star of the Los Angeles Raiders and a few different MLB teams recently talked about the growing concern among players and fans that football is simply too dangerous. Jackson told Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY that if he had the same knowledge when he entered the NFL in 1987 as players do today, he never would have played a single down on the gridiron.

“If I knew now what I had known back then, I would have never played football. Never,” Jackson said. “I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.

“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) stuff, there’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today. Even though I love the sport, I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football.

“I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.'”

Jackson only played four seasons in the NFL before a hip injury forced him to retire. In the off seasons, he played pro baseball for the Kansas City Royals, and later (after leaving football) the Chicago White Sox and California Angels. He became famous for winning the 1985 Heisman Trophy and then being the only athlete to be named an All-Star in both the NFL and MLB. His freak athleticism led to many fans and analysts to consider him one of the greatest athletes of all-time.

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