With concerns of mental health and concussion prevention dominating the NFL after Junior Seau committed suicide in early May, New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott told the New York Daily News on Saturday that he does not want his 7-year-old son to play football.
“I don’t want my son to play football,” Scott told the Daily News. “I play football so he won’t have to. With what is going on, I don’t know if it’s really worth it.”
Scott's worries stem from the suicides of Seau earlier this month and Dave Duerson in early 2011. Experts worry about the effect concussions and football's physical toll can have on players' mental states after they retire. Like Seau, Scott is a linebacker. Scott said he has never been diagnosed with a concussion, but he's still concerned about the damage the physical toll of playing linebacker will take on him after his career is over.
“I’m really going to have to pay attention to my body,” Scott told the Daily News. “The brain is one thing, but also just healing up, making sure that I’m a healthy human being, whatever surgery I have to get to make sure I live a quality life."
Scott is the first notable current NFL player to come out and advocate against his children playing football. After Seau's suicide, Kurt Warner said on Dan Patrick's radio show that he would prefer his sons did not play football. Warner was blasted by some for his comments, most notably retired former wide receiver Amani Toomer. But recently, the father of Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady also said that he would be "very hesitant" to let his son play football now.
"If he were 14 now, and he really wanted to play, in all likelihood I would let him. But it would not be an easy decision at all," he said, according to ESPN.
Scott said also would not let his son, B.J., take up boxing. He said he would prefer if his son played baseball. But he admitted it would be tough to stop his son if he approached him in a few years and said he wanted to play football. “I can’t stop him from doing what he wants to do, but I would advise him and try to push other things in his face that may interest him,” Scott told the Daily News.