Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner said last week that he would prefer for his sons not to play football, and although he later backed off those comments, he was hammered by former players Amani Toomer and Merril Hoge for giving a bad impression of a great game.
Now Warner has issued a lengthy response on his website, saying that he loves the game of football, but he is concerned that the game has grown so violent that it could leave his sons and other players who play it with serious injuries.
“I am constantly concerned about my kids and the violence of the game of football. I worry about them suffering head trauma and developing any long-term issues as a result of that injury,” Warner writes. “So yes, I love this game and all the things that it taught me and afforded me along the way, but regardless of all that I have a responsibility to my kids. I cannot be oblivious to the risks of the game of football simply because it was good to me. . . . I love the X’s and O’s of the game. I love the strategy of the game of football. I love the competitiveness of playing the greatest team sport in the world, where 11 guys must come together at the same time for the team to have success. I love the chess match within each game, the moves and countermoves and the pressure filled responses that dictate who will be the victor. I love the discipline and hard work that is required to succeed in any sport, especially the game of football. Yet, at the same time I am fully aware of the one aspect that I do not love: the violence.”
Warner says he has a fundamental disagreement with Hoge about the nature of concussions and how to treat them. Hoge says concussions will never be completely prevented, but that proper treatment is of paramount importance. Warner says prevention of concussions should be the first priority. And Warner says Toomer is wrong to think expressing concern about his sons suffering injuries equates to trashing the game of football.
“I don’t know why it is so hard for people to understand how I can BOTH love the game and be grateful for what it did for me and at the same time have concern for my kids in regards to playing it,” Warner said. “Why does it have to be one or the other?”
Warner has spoken a lot about concussions, and he has no intention of stopping.
“I believe I have a lot to offer to fans and players of the game due to my being educated and informed on most things football,” Warner writes. “Therefore, I will continue to passionately share my feelings, both on the areas that I love and the concerns I have, to hopefully generate continual dialogue on how we can improve all things football moving into the future.”
The discussions about brain injuries in football are not going away, and Warner will continue to be a part of those discussions.