Former Heisman winner Bo Jackson, one of the greatest two-sport athletes in history, says he probably would have stuck with one sport if he knew about the effects of head injuries.
In a Q&A with the MMQB’s Dom Bonvissuto, Jackson said that after seeing former NFL players affected by CTE, many of whom have died, he probably wouldn’t have played football professionally. He said he’d steer his children away from the sport as well.
“If I had young kids, to be honest, and if they came and said, ‘Dad, I want to play football,’ I’d smack them in the mouth,” Jackson said. “No. No. Because if I’d have known back then what I know now, to be honest with you, I probably would have taken a different path. I probably just would have played baseball.”
Jackson played running back in the NFL for the Los Angeles Raiders. He also played outfield and designated hitter for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and California Angels.
The former Auburn running back said he’s “one of the fortunate ones” who hasn’t experienced many long-term effects from concussions. He said that seeing the movie “Concussion” was an eye-opening experience.
“It’s not anything to play with, now I know that,” he said. “I went and watched the movie and there were people I knew, that I was friends with, that were gone that I didn’t even know they were gone.”
Jackson said he thinks he suffered one concussion in his career. He said he had a ringing in his ears and that when he got up, he actually went and sat on the wrong sideline.
“Something in my brain was telling me to get up, and don’t let these guys see that you are hurt,” Jackson said. “I got up and walked to the sideline. I got through the crowd and went to sit on the bench, and right when my butt hit the bench, someone grabbed my arm and said, ‘You’re on the wrong side, motherf—–.'”