NEW ORLEANS (CBS Houston/AP) — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees doesn’t want his young sons to play football just yet.
In an interview with USA Today, the former Super Bowl MVP said his three sons – currently aged 4, 2 and 1 – would only be allowed to play football when they are teenagers and only if they want to.
“At a certain age, I think it’s appropriate. I think you can be too young to go out there and strap on a helmet,” Brees said.
The questions to Brees came following the PBS documentary “League of Denial” which detailed the NFL’s alleged cover-up of the dangers of concussions and head injuries amongst its players.
Brees said parents need to know the risks involved of letting their kids play football.
“As a parent, you have to know what those risks are, and the protocols that have to take place when things happen,” Brees told USA Today. “When you get a concussion, you should be out for a certain period of time. You should be taking the baseline test. You go back and take that test again, get cleared by medical professionals before you ever play. For a kid, it should be at least a week or two, if not more.”
Last month, the NFL agreed to pay out $765 million to settle lawsuits from thousands of former players over the long-term damage they have suffered from playing football.
The crux of the NFL lawsuit wasn’t as much about players — living with the miserable effects of dementia or other concussion-related health problems — wanting their cut of the bounty, but how they instead accused the NFL of concealing the long-term dangers of concussions.
“They’re in bad shape, and they deserve to be cared for and be helped. Hopefully we can learn a lot from that and that situation and make it better for those who come after,” Brees told USA Today.
The PBS documentary showed that of the 46 brains that Boston University researchers studied of football players, 45 were diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – a progressive degenerative disease that researchers believe was developed from years of playing football.
Two of those brains that had CTE came from a 21-year-old college football player and an 18-year-old high school football player.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)