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January 28th, 2013
11:11 AM ET

President Obama shares injury fears for young football players – fmr. coach Jack Crowe weighs in

In an interview released online Sunday with "The New Republic," President Obama said if he had a son, he would "have to think long and hard before I let him play football."

The president, a longtime Chicago Bears fan, added that he would like to see the NCAA think about “some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on.”

This morning Jack Crowe, a retired football coach who spent nearly 40 years coaching college football speaks with Soledad O’Brien about the president’s recent comments.

“I understand the president’s concerns and he’s qualified it by saying as a parent [and] that’s where the grassroots of football the community,” Crowe says.

Crowe, who is also the former executive director of the American Sports Medicine Institute says, adds that those participating in youth football are probably most in need of education and research because “those guys who are coaching at that level don’t have a course in care and prevention to injuries. That’s the level I worry about the most.”

The longtime football coach reminisces on coaching his very first game and a player from the opposing team who the following week sustained a head injury that ultimately took his life. The week before the player died Crowe says his team “hit on [the player] a lot,” which was detrimental because the player “had a concussion in our game that wasn't recognized.”

Crowe says the issue is ultimately about how coaches are being trained and the medical support they have. He adds, “Games get covered by medical specialists but the majority of [injuries] happen at practice.”

For more information visit for more on how to stay safe while playing sports.

Filed under: Football • Head injuries • Uncategorized
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Patrick Sexton

    CNN while I am an avid watcher I must say that this morning I was not pleased with this story. While Mr. Jack Crowe may have been a good football coach he is not a trained/qualified medical or health care professional, he is a coach so his suggestions for making football safer were short-sighted to say the least. Better training in injury prevention and treatment for coaches will not help solve the problem. How about making sure that all student-athletes have a licensed athletic trainer on hand. Athletic Trainers are educated/trained in injury prevention, recognition, and management of injuries to athletes and to those involved in physical activity. An athletic trainer is not a luxury much the same as a a lifeguard at a swimming pool is not a luxury. Student-athletes, especially football players will become injured so having a qualified professional on hand to provide the necessary care and/or save a life is the correct path. Simply better educating coaches, while also a positive step, is not the definitive method of improving safety in my opinion. Please do not equate coaches and athletic trainers in terms of education and training as health professionals. Athletic trainers have a minimum of a bachelors degree in the field and 70% have a masters degree or beyond. I suggest that CNN consider inviting an athletic trainer on air the next time you are going to discuss injuries, injury prevention, or related topics when it comes to athletes or physically active individuals. Please contact the National Athletic Trainers' Association web site at for information on the qualifications and expertise of athletic trainers.

    January 28, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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