Obama sparks conversation about kids, football and concussions - FOX 13 News

Obama sparks conversation about kids, football and concussions

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It's America's new pastime, some even suggest football it's America's passion.

One week before the Super Bowl, America's "football holiday," America's commander-in-chief had some interesting thoughts about the game.

In an interview with the magazine New Republic President Obama said: "I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football."

His main concern seemed to be concussions.

"It's what we used to call getting your bell rung," said Dr. James Orlowski, the chief of pediatrics at Florida Hospital of Tampa.

He says repeated concussions can cause small scars on the brain, which is problematic, particularly for children.

"During the time that your brain is growing it's very, very sensitive to these types of injuries," said Orlowski. "When you have repeated small scars on the brain, that adds up over time to everything from loss of intelligence to the development of Parkinson's disease and perhaps this new post concussion syndrome."

Jackie Zuluagh of Tampa, much like the president, has two daughters. She says if she had a son, she'd say no to football.

"That's a sport I wouldn't put them in unless they're old enough to decide for themselves," said Zuluagh

But not everybody agrees. Jennifer Solarte has a 3-year-old son. She says when he's old enough, he can play if he wants.

"I would let him, and let him try it out to see if he likes it," said Solarte. "I'm not going to say no because he's gonna get hurt."

It appears football in this country is here to stay, but some parents, including the president, hope one day it becomes safer.

The experts say football isn't the only sport that parents should worry about when it comes to concussions. They say soccer, a sport that is widely considered to be much less violent than football, also poses concussion concerns, especially when the players hit the ball with their head.

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