Football Needs Big Changes; It's Not Worth the "Human Carnage"

Retired NFL player George Visger loved football but he knows it can come with long-term consequences. He encourages parents to think hard before sending their kids out on the field.

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I love the game so much. I mean I love it. I told people I would have played for free in the pros. I mean, I love the game, and it's a game-- and I coached for a few years, years ago and I tell the kids the first year of practice, "You know what? Football isn't what you think it is You either love it or you hate it; it's not all this 'look at me." I said, "It's a nasty, dirty, you're tired, you're wearing 21 pounds of plastic pads, you're hot, guys are knocking the heck out of you constantly." I said, "It's not this junk you see people jumping up and down and dancing on the field." I said, "You either love it or you don't." And I tell my kids this every year. "If after the first practice you decide this isn't for you, let me know. You're not going to hurt anyone's feelings. This isn't a game for everyone." But as far as the parents go, see, and having coached a lot of kids that are kind of pushed into it. Their parents want to live vicariously, because they never did it, and these are the most dangerous. When they're making kids do things that they couldn't do when they played. So they need to make sure the coaches know what they're doing. The parents need to take a lot of responsibility to make sure that their kids are being coached correctly. And if they're not, they need to start raising some hell. There are long-term consequences to these coaches and not like having a bad baseball coach. There are long-term consequences, and it's a very, very tough decision.. Parents needs to make a decision. I'm not out bashing football, and I tell folks I'm not out to try to kill it, but I'm here to try to save it. The way it's going right now, it's going to be regulated right out of existence and for good reason. We need to change it. It's not worth the human carnage. So I know it's a personal decision for parents, but they need to really, really, really look into what programs they're putting their kids in and be involved in it, you know? Find out what's happening.
Posted on BrainLine January 3, 2013.

About the author: George Visger

A defensive lineman on the San Francisco 49ers’ first Super Bowl champions in 1981-82, George Visger has lived with a shunt in his brain ever since — a consequence of the cumulative concussions. He is now a prominent figure in the fight for fair treatment of retired NFL players.

 Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Jared Schaubert, BrainLine, and Dan Edblom.