BOSTON (CBS) — The doctor who discovered CTE believes that letting anyone under 18 years old play football should be considered child abuse.

Dr. Bennet Omalu, a neuropathologist and expert in the study of the effects of concussions, recently reacted to the study that found 110 of 111 former NFL players who had their brains donated suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). He said that letting children play football is the definition of “child abuse,” and doesn’t believe there is any way to make the sport safer.

“Someday there will be a district attorney who will prosecute for child abuse [on the football field], and it will succeed,” Omalu said during an event in New York, according to Sports Illustrated. “It is the definition of child abuse.

“If you play football, and if your child plays football, there is a 100 percent risk exposure. There is nothing like making football safer. That’s a misnomer,” Omalu continued.

bennet omalu Concussion Expert Says Letting Kids Play Football Should Be Considered Child Abuse

Dr. Bennet Omalu. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Omalu’s life and findings on concussions was recently dramatized in the movie “Concussion,” with Will Smith portraying Omalu on the big screen. Omalu doesn’t believe there is anything the NFL can do to make the game safer for its players, and even if there was, the league would only be focused on their own bottom line.

“The league is a corporation,” he said. “What do corporations do? Make money. They’re not there to provide health care or perform research. That is not what they’re there to do. They’re selling product. … If they feel the need to make any changes, they’re making calculated changes that will enhance their bottom line.”

Comments (72)
  1. I don’t know about that. Kids spend a good deal of their time crashing into one another. They can get concussed that way too. Should that be considered assault? As with most movements improving awareness of and safety from concussions are laudable goals, but movements taken to extremes always result in nonsensical outcomes. This would be one of them.

    1. Sam Dennis says:

      I wonder if Dr. Omalou blames CTE for the outragous murder rate in Chicago?

    2. Kids don’t spend any time “crashing into each other”. This is the age of lawsuits and pampering. There is no way a parent will let some kid “crash into” their kid without calling the cops. The days of “monkey bars” is over.

  2. Another snowflake advocating the feminization of American males.

  3. Jack Webb says:

    Keep them from playing football, but by all means, permit the little tykes to decide for themselves if they are actually boys or girls, and then administer hormones to them in accord with their mature and informed decision. They’re old enough by age four to make that determination, right?

    1. Child abuse is the refusal to treat children for their gender/sexuality anxiety! Little girls playing tomboy are now ushered into treatment for transgender operations, and parents have no say; then there are parents who say their child must be homosexual (Sally Kohn) or can determine their own sex. The Board of Psychiatry now sees children as property of adults who can be transformed from male to female or vice versa, as well as training them to be homosexual rather than heterosexual. They begin the training in kindergarten with the new readers, “Why Johnny has Two Dads”, replacing the Jack, Jill and Spot readers of a time in our history when gender and sexuality were determined by the child’s DNA!

      1. I found the weirdest people in college in either Poly sci or Psych classes. Totally devoid of common sense and so opinionated they were repulsive. Maybe this doc was there.

  4. Why not just castrate us males . I played football in junior and senior high school and four years in college . There are risks ; that’s part of living life! This puke,, Omalu and his sissy minions , calling it “child abuse” is typical of lib BS emasculation process we live with today. Over 70% of NFL players are black; will this not evolve into “racial abuse”?

    1. John Dendy says:

      He is worse then a quack. He is a damn fool that doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about

  5. So, it is child abuse to allow young boys to play football, while it is perfectly fine to take your small child to a camp that teaches them gender confusion.

    If you want a nation of weak little victims.. Don’t let our young men play football.

  6. Paul Barber says:

    shaking down the NFL for “research” dollars

  7. Other docs say allowing a child to declare he/she is transgendered at 4-16 is also child abuse. One has a history while the other doesn’t

  8. This witch doctor needs to take his BS back to Africa.

  9. Derek Langer says:

    Yea….But encouraging them to be transsexuals ISN’T child abuse ?!?!? The level of dysfunctionality in America is staggering. People no longer possess common sense!

  10. Jerry Walton says:

    What a moron. He is completely forgetting the fact that more kids get concussions playing soccer than they do playing football.

  11. my experience is that the hardest heads in the history of mankind are possessed by liberal people no matter what age. Second on the list is teenage girls in love, then teenage boys. This doc is off base. Or is that another sport children shouldn’t play because they might get hit? I suppose to some doctors, a living child is abused no matter what they do.

  12. Virtually every contact sport creates the potential for injury and concussion.
    I guess he wants to keep boys from any kind of physical activity. Boys will be girls.

    1. Mark Smith says:

      The reply-to-post function is not working for me, so I’ll post some responses here:

      * “Kids play rough in many other ways, what’s the difference?” The difference is football is the density and nature of the rough play, and the fact that players aren’t just taught to ‘tackle’, they are taught to hit as hard as they possibly can and ultimately are cheered on when they are able to shake up or knock another player out of the game.

      No one wants to get hurt, but it’s a fact of the game that when you hit as hard as you can, you do injure players, and when opponents are injured, your team benefits heavily from it. There’s just no way around that dichotomy.

      Football is also a regularly scheduled violent event. You’ve got practices every week and a game every week during the season. By comparison, and comparing to my own childhood, I had my rough play times with other kids, but it wasn’t even in the ball park of the same density/time and nature of tackle football. Far, far less, and significant injuries were virtually unheard of, let alone concussions.

      * “Cash grab for research dollars” Since the original research was done privately and discovered something that the NFL would have never discovered or wanted discovered, then I’d say it is perfectly valid to expect the league that makes BILLIONS of dollars off of these players to pay for some research.

      * “Other sports are dangerous too” Football is the only major, popular school sport where violent contact is not incidental, but intentional, and not just intentional, but the objective is to hit as hard as you can, and then, strangely, to watch your team benefit from the shake ups and injuries that your team inflicts on the other team.

      In basketball, you get injured through personal stresses as well as incidental contact. Any deliberate violence gets you ejected. Baseball, tennis, golf, soccer, same thing. Wrestling is a deliberate contact sport but has limiting rules. I don’t know how football and wrestling compare on injuries. Hockey, for schools that have it, could possibly be accused of something similar since it promotes ‘checking’ and tolerates a substantial amount of brawling. Hockey is a little different, as outside of those two things, the regular gameplay is pretty clean, at least the games that I’ve seen.

      Sure, other sports have injuries, and some will have a higher instance of specific injuries, but everyone knows football is the worst overall. Concussions are just a part of the whole picture.

      * “Safety gear allows people to hit harder, so injuries are even worse” This is a valid concern, but realistically you’d never get this turned around. Plus, I couldn’t tell you if you ditched all the safety gear if injuries would actually drop. I _can_ tell you that everyone who loves the violence in the sport would be sorely disappointed because obviously the violence would have to be toned WAY back to prevent injuries without safety gear.

      Bottom line on this point is, this sport is going one direction, and that’s it. More safety gear, and safer rules.

      1. Jeff Phelps says:

        Safety equipment makes things worse? I guess motorcycle riders should no longer wear helmets then. And seat belts should be cut out and tossed in the trash. Air bags too. If you’ve never worn a football helmet (and I bet you haven’t) you couldn’t possibly know how much it protects you. Try landing on your head on a concrete floor like basketball players do sometimes. Trust me it’s far worse than anything on the football field.

        There was a time when this country saw the value in a tough disposition. It still lingers in many. Football was actually conceived as a replacement for war. Maybe we should go back to choosing up side for a good old fashioned gang war because that was the reason schools started football teams.

        I know lots of people that played football. I don’t know of even one that has a problem now because of it. Not problems with their brain anyway. Broken bones are the worst of it and I see just as many of those from playing basketball.

        I played football in high school. I’ve lived a normal life and from what I can tell I have zero symptoms of this concussion syndrome. People who got concussions were immediately forced off the football team permanently in fact and that was in the early 1970’s. This idea that everyone who plays gets their brains beat out is just silly.

      2. Jerry Walton says:

        More concussions from soccer than from football. Fact.

  13. Al McFadden says:

    ALL studies to date regarding CTE have been done on professional football players who have experienced literally thousands of collisions. There is no data on how many times the brain can recover from the trauma of a concussion before CTE becomes a real possibility. Can you develop CTE from hitting your head one time after falling off a bicycle? How about being struck in the head by a single swing of a baseball bat? Does it take just two concussions to develop CTE or is it five or six? What if multiple concussions are suffered years apart, does that matter? No one knows these answers, not even Dr. Omalu. The fact is, there are absolutely no comprehensive youth studies regarding concussions and CTE, so no one can come close to concluding that playing youth football will lead to CTE. There might be a risk of concussion (just like soccer, rugby, hockey and just about every other sport), but there is nothing that proves playing football in middle school and high school will cause CTE. Dr. Omalu’s position that allowing your child to play football equates to “child abuse” is ridiculous.

    1. Jeff Lucas says:

      Everything you said suggests his claim is not yet supported, and that more research is necessary. That is a good point. It doesn’t support your conclusion that his claim is ridiculous. That is emotional.

      He is ultimately either right or wrong. And I do agree–we don’t know yet. Hopefully he is wrong.

  14. Rob Gunn says:

    One day muslim parents will be prosecuted for forcing their children in to the death cult that is islam

  15. voodoodaddy1 says:

    I’ve broken a leg and an ankle playing……soccer. Never injured playing four years of American footbal though……………

  16. Jimmy Zick says:

    My parents abused me everyday of my life. They let my play football at only 6 years old. Can you imagine raping a 6 year old like that. They never stopped me from playing baseball, where a ball comes at you at speeds enough to bruise you. I consider parents who let their children play baseball murderers. If my parents really loved my they would have strapped me in a beanbag chair and kept me locked indoors and only let me read. Reading might hurt my eyes so maybe just the chair.

  17. Susan Vue says:

    Progs will do anything to prevent boys from growing into testosterone driven men.

  18. In the old days, snow skiers would break their ankles. Better boots were designed to protect the ankles and then the knees started breaking. If the knees were protected, than the hips would be next. Kids playing football should not wear helmets for the same reason. It encourages head-to-head contact which result in brain injuries. Ban helmets for junior high and high school football and make any head-to-head contact an ejection foul.

  19. Susan Vue says:

    Neuter all the boys and soon we can be like Sweden with no men to protect us from the rape crazy Muslims.

  20. Mark Smith says:

    The human body was not designed to be rammed into other bodies many thousands of times anymore than it was designed to be shot up on a battlefield.

    Human beings are always doing things to their bodies that are extremely unhealthy. The issue with football is that kids are both enticed and pressured into it by society from all angles. Kids naturally want to play sports and have fun, but they do not have the knowledge, experience, wisdom and willpower to avoid doing dangerous things much of the time.

    The only people in professional sports who are remembered are the super stars. No one remembers the people who sustained permanent, life changing injuries and in some cases end up impoverished and destitute. Football is iconic for using people like rags for mass entertainment, and then throwing them away once the rag is worn out.

    And yes, I’m an old football fan. I grew up watching it, loving it; fortunately was always too small to play it. I finally stopped watching it about four years ago, but not primarily because of the health aspects, but for many other reasons.

    One day, society will put health before entertainment….but not today.

  21. Dan Meyers says:

    It is definitely child abuse. I have full blown CTE and only played high school ball. But PLEASE encourage your boys to play – and play rough. You don’t want any “snowflakes” out there as some commenters have said. By having your boys play, this will be less competition for my two boys in the real world! Love it.

    1. Sorry that you’re so delicate and couldn’t handle a little physical contact. Be sure to give your 2 snowflakes their participation ribbons. I’m sure they’ll put those gender studies degrees to good use.

  22. Chris Kellam says:

    Telling little 8 year old Johnny that it’s okay be a girl is child abuse.

  23. Matt Olson says:

    The doctors would prefer that our children do no physical activity. That way they can become obese, develop type 2 diabetes and be forced to go to doctors every month and spend tens of thousands a year on drugs, allowing said doctors to receive their massive kickbacks from the pharma companies. Got it!

  24. Joseph Kline says:

    Is that less or more harmful than providing hormone therapy to a confused prepubescent child? because some doctors are all for that insanity.

  25. How is football considered child abuse, but sending a 4 year old to trangender classes isn’t? I personally feel any sort of sex education at that age is abuse.

  26. Gregg Velosi says:

    Telling people how to raise their kids should be considered tyranny.

  27. Letting this quack practice medicine should be considered medical malpractice.

  28. Too many snowflakes is dangerous to kids as well, We do not live in a bubblewrap world. Skint knees, knots and broken bones are part of a kid’s life. This is the morons’ cause of the moment.

  29. John Seymore says:

    Go back to Africa you douch.e bag!

  30. You know what REAL child abuse is? Forcing children to grow up thinking they are the opposite gender they were born into, or some ambiguous fake “gender.”

  31. I am a youth football coach so I suppose I not only abuse my boy, I have abused many others as well. NOT letting your kids play football until they get into middle school is actually worse for the kid if he in fact does end up playing. My son starts 7th grade football this year and he has a leg up because he has played 6 years of football. Knowing proper tackling techniques and how to keep your head out of it is an important skill to learn. Most youth leagues in my area (actually all that I know of) have partnered with USA football and all coaches must be certified. And I would like to see a study of former players that didn’t play in the 50’s and 60’s…..hell, did they even wear helmets back then? Football is dangerous….soccer is dangerous…driving in a car is dangerous. I got a concussion once….from falling off my bike.

  32. Keith Smith says:

    These are the same idiots that tell us that our children, at 2 years old, need to be told about transgenderism. Yeah, p1ss off losers.

    1. If you witnessed the nightmare that my family lives as a result of head injuries playing football, you’d be ashamed of yourself for saying this.

  33. Steve Moran says:

    The Obituary of Common Sense
    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many
    years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic
    red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – And maybe it was my fault.
    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and
    reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in
    place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens
    suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly
    student, only worsened his condition.
    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had
    failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
    It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an
    aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an
    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better
    treatment than their victims.
    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and
    the burglar could sue you for assault.
    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of
    coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
    Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; by his wife, Discretion; by his
    daughter, Responsibility; and by his son, Reason.
    He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers: I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, I’m A
    Victim, and Pay me for Doing Nothing.
    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better – Alas poor common sense we knew it well. A product of infinite wisdom and understanding.

  34. Using Dr. Omalu’s reasoning, shouldn’t competitive cheerleading be the first activity to be labeled “child abuse”? After all, cheerleading surpasses football in the category of brain and spine injuries. Why is Omalu so focused on football rather than cheerleading? Is it because cheerleading is primarily an activity that females participate in, and therefore not as important to him?!!!

  35. Doug Day says:

    Are his kids cis questioning? Ban soccer, cycling, boxing, UFC, rugby, basketball, …

  36. Jeff Lucas says:

    Here is the thing. This isn’t a political position. It isn’t an argument. The doctor *IS* either right, or wrong, by the laws of nature, physics, and biology. What you think, or whether you love or hate football, has no bearing on the answer, and is completely irrelevant. And the biggest problem is, the only way to measure and examine CTE and its impacts is post-mortem. He absolutely could be right, based on what we have learned over the past decade. Does not mean he is right, or that youth football comes anywhere near the realm of child abuse–that seems a stretch.

    But I would suggest, to those hoping that the pro-football side is right–kick the lady in the video off your “team” that said the character building aspects of the game outweigh the potential risks… or potential permanent brain injury? Really? That is lame. And it is okay, because her child wants to play, so it must be safe? People complaining about weak kids, how about weak parents? Well, Johnny wants to play, so he should. Some kids want to stick forks in electrical sockets. Pretty sure that does not make it ok–because–in the end, the laws of nature, physics, and biology will decide.

  37. People may laugh and scoff at this but it will happen. It’s just a matter of time. Some kid will get injured and sue his parents for letting him play. The jury will be bombarded with scientific studies and testimony and the parents will be convicted of child abuse. Good bye football.

  38. I am fine with that view to a point, but how do we jive that with pumping kids full of ADHD drugs

  39. I am watching my father, who played professional football, digress to the functional level of a child with no memory. It’s the biggest stressor in the lives of my me, my mother, and my siblings. It’s just not worth it. If you want your child to grow up and be happy and healthy for him/herself and their descendants, find another way for them to be kids.

  40. How many years of football did Maxine Waters play? 20 maybe 30…

  41. Letting your child deliberately and repeatedly slam his head into solid objects is abuse. 110 of 111 former NFL players who were studied had brain damage. Is that what you want for your child?

  42. Is your need to have your child play football more important than your child’s brain?

  43. Paul Peters says:

    “The league is a corporation,” he said. “What do corporations do? Make money. They’re not there to provide health care or perform research. That is not what they’re there to do. They’re selling product. … If they feel the need to make any changes, they’re making calculated changes that will enhance their bottom line.”

    The league is actually filed as a non-profit organization. Everything else here is true though.

  44. I wonder if the Good Doctor would consider encouraging children to experiment with homosexuality to be child abuse as well. Since both come with risks, the only difference is that football is American, and therefore politically incorrect.

  45. Sending your children to poisonous liberal fascist “universities” is child abuse. I’d like to sue every parent who sends their poor mush-head clueless child to indoctrination centers. Leftwing Universities = Death.

  46. I’m old-fashioned. I played baseball, football, and basketball as a kid, but never in a Halloween costume pretending to be a professional player like the kids in the leagues today. If we had 10 kids on our block, we had two baseball teams. Sometimes the same kids played for both sides. A little kid was given a “two-count” head start if he connected so he could reach 1st base. The baseball field was the street or any open area a tennis ball could fly. Football was anyone who wanted to play at any position. Basketball the same. Sides were chosen by flipping a coin or grabbing a bat and doing “handsies”. It didn’t matter who won because everyone eventually got on a side that won. We had a lot of fun. We actually “played” the game. When my kids were growing up, my wife got into “sports” and signed them up for everything. They had to get uniforms. They had rules. They had coaches. The had little grandstands for the parents. It was a total joke. Adults got into fights and sometimes with the little kids or the referees. The kids? Some never played because they weren’t good enough. I can’t remember ever seeing kids simply playing the game on their own without those dumb uniforms. I never heard any kid calling up my sons and saying, “let’s play some baseball”. We had a 10 acre parcel with four flat acres and the kids never thought to play football or baseball on it. Totally stupid. If you didn’t join a “league”, you didn’t play baseball or football. The concepts of “fun”, “game”, and “play” have disappeared along with a lot of great childhood.

  47. So it’s not okay to play football – A sport that has been pretty much a part of human civilization in some form or another; but it’s okay to warp a child into a transgender freak? Yeah society is wacked. Like all great civilizations of the past the rise was spectacular the fall was just as epic. And always led by some dipstick like this.

    If the fighters of the free world had known that this is what this country would eventually look like – I wonder if they would have fought so hard for that freedom? What good was fighting for freemen if it was just to turn them into a bunch of p*ssies.

    Tis sad to watch great nations fall because they allow their ignorant government and it’s people to force even more insane and ignorant chains on people. Glad I don’t have kids. At least it will be me that has to watch the transition of foolishness.

    Why exactly did America forsake God – a creator of wrath and righteousness? If anything the belief in God kept people in line. Now people believe in far more harmful illusions.

  48. I think it is more likely that people like this Dr will be sued for violation of people’s civil rights. His advocacy would deprive thousands of minorities the right to earn a significantly higher standard of living. The NFL is 70% composed of minorities, and has produced more minority millionaires than any other business. Banning them from playing football would deprive them of the opportunity of that success.

  49. DonQuixote says:

    I don’t agree with this Dr. Many, many children play all kinds of sports. Children involved in hockey, soccer, and boxing are just as susceptible to concussions. Also, there is a big difference between a 7-year-old being tackled by another 7-year-old vs grown men hitting each other. Kids should be kids. We can’t ban everything that might be dangerous (autos for example).

    Don Quixote | Concussion Place | Concussion Treatment Colorado Springs

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