Bo Jackson earned the title of world’s greatest living athlete by becoming the only person to ever be an All-Star in baseball and a Pro Bowl player in football, but his opinion on the notoriously dangerous sport of football might surprise some.
According to a recent interview, Jackson says that had he known then what he knows now, he never would have played one of the sports that made him a household name in the 80’s.
“If I knew back then what I know now, I would have never played football,’’ Jackson told USA Today. “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.”
He doesn’t just stop there. Jackson says he supports his children being involved in sports – but not football.
“The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We’re so much more educated on this CTE stuff, 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.
“I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’ ’’
Jackson’s career in athletics was remarkable, even early on. As a student at Auburn, he won the 1985 Heisman Trophy in football while also gaining recognition in baseball and track and field. After college, he went on to become an All-Star outfielder playing for the Kansas City Royals and a Pro Bowl running back with the Oakland Raiders.
Bo Jackson’s meteoric rise was abruptly cut short, however. After a hip injury during a Raiders playoff game in 1991, the athlete’s time in the NFL was over. The injury would also plague his abilities in baseball and he would leave the sport after just three more seasons.
While he may wish he had known more about the risks of CTE and repeated concussions in football back then, ultimately Jackson says he is happy with his choices and the consequences.
“You know what,’’ he said, “I still wouldn’t change a thing. The man upstairs had a plan of the way of working things out, and they did.
“I have no regrets.’’