Imagine if Bo Jackson hadn’t played football.
He wouldn’t have won the 1985 Heisman Trophy.
He wouldn’t have been the first overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft.
He wouldn’t have made the Pro Bowl in 1990.
He wouldn’t have starred in Nike’s legendary “Bo Knows” ad campaign.
Bo Jackson as we know him would cease to exist. The crazy part is that it isn’t that far-fetched.
In a recent interview with USA Today Sports, Jackson revealed he wouldn’t have played football if he had known its real risks.
“If I knew back then what I know now,’’ Jackson said, “I would have never played football. Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn’t tell anybody.”
Jackson goes on to say that if he had young children today, he wouldn’t allow them to play football.
“We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff [chronic traumatic encephalopathy]. There’s no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today . . . even though I love the sport. I’d smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football,” Jackson said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”
It’s a pretty powerful statement from a football icon. Jackson did say, however, that he has no regrets about the way his life has played out. “The man upstairs had a plan of the way of working things out, and they did,” Jackson said. “Things turned out all right.’’
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