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Karl Mecklenburg suing the NFL, but still thinks kids should play

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Karl Mecklenburg, a three-time All-Pro linebacker with the Broncos, is one of the thousands of former players suing the NFL over brain injuries they say they suffered on the field. But that doesn’t mean he thinks kids shouldn’t play football.

Mecklenburg told the Denver Post that he still believes football is great for children, and he thinks if it is safe and properly supervised it should continue to be a sport that young people play.

Football is a wonderful teaching lesson about so many things in life,” Mecklenburg said. “About perseverance, about courage, about dedication, about teamwork, about leadership, about so many things you can’t learn in a classroom. So, yeah, it’s a wonderful way for a child to learn those things, as long as again the adults aren’t getting carried away, the owners aren’t getting carried away, and putting people in bad positions.”

So why is Mecklenburg suing the NFL? He believes that the league should have given players a greater understanding of the risks of brain injuries.

“I didn’t buy in to professional football with the understanding that I was going to have brain damage,” Mecklenburg said. “I expected to have a limp. I expected to have sore joints. Bad shoulder, whatever. But that other part, that was kept from us and that wasn’t right.”

Of course, children who play youth football don’t have a full understanding of the potential injury risks, either. That’s why it’s extremely important for the adults who run youth football programs to take precautions against head injuries. But as we talk about the risks of football for young people, we should also talk about the rewards of playing football. Which are significant.

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15 Responses to “Karl Mecklenburg suing the NFL, but still thinks kids should play”
  1. lgbarn says: Aug 26, 2013 8:44 AM

    Come on Karl, you knew the risks. Anyone who is paying attention could see what the older players were going through. Bottom line is, it’s about the money.

    I talked to a former pro player who told me: “I knew the risks but I may sign onto a lawsuit because there is a lot of money involved.”

  2. germanstingray says: Aug 26, 2013 8:48 AM

    Yes, there are many important life lessons that one can learn from football. Apparently one of them is how to sue someone over the repercussions of your own choice to play. This is part of what makes our country great.

  3. FinFan68 says: Aug 26, 2013 8:49 AM

    I just wish someone would ask all these guys suing the league one simple question. If you honestly did not believe, when you signed up that the game was dangerous or that you could injure your head/brain what were the helmets for?

    I think most of these guys are signing on in the hopes of getting some extra cash. They either no longer have any, feel they are owed more or simply hope somebody in their group has the winning lottery numbers and the NFL is forced to pay. The NFLPA had the same data and had the supreme responsibility of representing the players yet they are not listed in a single lawsuit. This whole thing is quite despicable.

  4. chris6523 says: Aug 26, 2013 9:09 AM

    Yeah, I’m calling BS on Mecklenburg. He’s suggesting if he knew there would be a risk of brain injury he would have quit playing. I don’t believe that for a minute. Everyone knows the risks involved now and how many current players have quit playing because of those risks? I’m pretty sure anyone with all their fingers could count that number on one hand.

  5. emoney12 says: Aug 26, 2013 9:32 AM

    Wait a minute. You have to be told that running your head into someone else’s head at full speed is bad? Certainly can’t fix stupid that way.

  6. joetoronto says: Aug 26, 2013 9:40 AM

    He was soft when he played and he’s even softer now, just a real softy.

  7. blacknole08 says: Aug 26, 2013 10:00 AM

    Hypocrite. He enjoyed all the glory and accolades that came with this game. I dont understand why these players play dumb.

  8. oilcandroid says: Aug 26, 2013 10:00 AM

    It only took me two games of organized grade-school football to realize that my head was taking way more abuse than my body, so I made a conscious choice to stop playing, as fun as it was. I was 11.

    I have a very hard time sympathizing with the players on this one.

  9. stew48 says: Aug 26, 2013 10:29 AM

    I am 83. There is absolutely nothing that can be learned about life by playing football that cannot be learned elsewhere or some other way. Therefore, the safety factor should be dominant in any discussion. Does that mean if football cannot be made safe that it should be significantly changed or abandoned? Before you answer, what is your desire for a healthy life past age 50?

  10. dcapettini says: Aug 26, 2013 10:44 AM

    Hey Karl! You have so much to say about kids now, but I remember during the Strike you brought a child to tears while refusing to give them an autograph. Now, just like then, it’s all about money for Karl, not what right, fair or best for everyone.

  11. soldyou says: Aug 26, 2013 11:00 AM

    @Report comment
    stew48 says:
    Aug 26, 2013 10:29 AM
    I am 83. There is absolutely nothing that can be learned about life by playing football that cannot be learned elsewhere or some other way. Therefore, the safety factor should be dominant in any discussion. Does that mean if football cannot be made safe that it should be significantly changed or abandoned? Before you answer, what is your desire for a healthy life past age 50?

    Stew- I’m just wondering if you ever played youth football? The lessons learned from the sport can be learned else where..yes. But at what age, these young men learn discipline, work ethic, how to put your personal goals aside to do what’s best for the team, honor and respect. Football is violent by design….life is violent based on your choices….learn your lessons at young age. Most head injuries at the youth level are caused from the ground not from hitting each other (per USA football). As the kids get older say around 7th grade the hits become violent.

  12. ia4chiefs says: Aug 26, 2013 12:55 PM

    Err duh Mongo hurt brain need cash.

  13. FinFan68 says: Aug 26, 2013 2:59 PM

    soldyou says:
    Stew- I’m just wondering if you ever played youth football? The lessons learned from the sport can be learned else where..yes. But at what age, these young men learn discipline, work ethic, how to put your personal goals aside to do what’s best for the team, honor and respect.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    If you pay attention to the stories on this site you will see that many of the players have yet to learn any of those things you mentioned–and they are in their 20’s and 30’s. I am not arguing your point about young kids receiving life lessons through organized football. It just seems funny that too many of the athletes that excelled enough in football to make it to the ultimate stage have completely failed at learning the lessons that make youth football so good.

  14. soldyou says: Aug 26, 2013 5:15 PM

    Finfan68-
    I hear what your saying but less than 1% of kids that play youth football go on to play at the NFL level. I feel a lot of the problems the NFL players get in trouble are money related and being “the man” those are life lessons not being taught at the youth level. I have coached youth football for 9 seasons, respect is the hardest act to teach in a emotional game. However, I do feel we get it across. There is no coach that can help you with winning the lottery or being drafted at age 21 by the nfl.

  15. FinFan68 says: Aug 26, 2013 5:42 PM

    soldyou-
    I wasn’t disagreeing with you. I think organized youth football is a great experience for most of the kids. The problems I was referring to center around one major thing. Those are the guys that seem to think they are above the game. No coach can get rid of that as everybody else in that child’s life is likely preaching the opposite. It’s a shame that many of these guys don’t get it. Some of the NFL players show a lot of class and some even credit youth football for those life lessons but they are far overshadowed by the entitled clowns.

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