Former Bears coach Mike Ditka says there’s no way he’d let his hypothetical 8-year-old son play football, arguing that the “risk is worse than the reward.”
The pro football Hall of Famer made the comments in an episode of HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” which will air Tuesday night, Yahoo Sports reported.
In the piece, Mr. Ditka argues that the NFL needs to do more to assist former players,
“If you had an 8-year-old kid now, would you tell him you want him to play football?” Mr. Ditka asks Mr. Gumbel.
“I wouldn’t. Would you?” Mr. Gumbel asks.
“Nope. That’s sad. I wouldn’t,” Mr. Ditka replies. “And my whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do.”
Ditka expressed his desire for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to implement additional policies benefiting those affected by the violent nature of the sport, Yahoo reported.
“[Mr. Goodell] wouldn’t have a damn job right now if it wasn’t for those guys,” Mr. Ditka says in the show.
In the HBO feature, former Bears defensive end Richard Dent and quarterback Jim McMahon detail their post-playing health conditions, Yahoo reported.
Mr. Dent reveals the team’s use of painkillers and alcohol as postgame treatment and Mr. McMahon, who suffers from early onset dementia, says he understands the suicide of teammate Dave Duerson, who suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Yahoo reported.