FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — New York Jets coach Rex Ryan “absolutely” would like his son to continue playing football despite him suffering a concussion last season in high school.
Asked Saturday after the Jets’ second rookie minicamp practice about how some NFL players have said they’d rather their children not play the game in light of Junior Seau’s death, Ryan said he’s “proud that my kid plays.”
Ryan said his son Seth, a cornerback and wide receiver for Summit High School, suffered a concussion while playing in a game.
“That’s part of it,” Ryan said. “But, you know, I mean, we are so much further along now.”
The Jets coach is encouraged by strides in research and medical treatment in dealing with concussions. The NFL has put a strong focus on trying to prevent head injuries in recent years.
“Obviously, you have concerns when that happens, but it’s just one of those things, an unfortunate part of the game,” Ryan said. “It does happen occasionally, but I truly think everybody’s working to try to get this thing minimized. We’ve got to protect our players, protect our athletes, without question. I think we’ve tried to do that with the helmets, with the way the trainers are and everything else.”
Seau was found shot in the chest Wednesday, and the San Diego County medical examiner’s office ruled the death a suicide. The family plans to donate Seau’s brain for research into football-related injuries, but there has been no medical evidence that brain injuries from football may have played a role in his death.
The news still had some former players such as Kurt Warner hoping that their children find another sport to participate in. Warner recently told “The Dan Patrick Show” that the thought of his sons playing football “scares me.”
“I love the sport,” Ryan said. “This game has been incredible to me and my family. I mean, amazing. In fact, we made a great living doing what we love to do, and that’s be around the sport. This game is not for everybody. When I look at the young men that we have playing this game on this level, I’ve always said these are mighty men, there is no question.
“I don’t know if it’s a true fact or not, but I always say it: ‘It’s easier to win the lottery than it is to play in the National Football League.'”
Ryan acknowledged that football is a physical and violent sport, and that it takes “somebody special” to play the game.
“Would I still have my son playing?” Ryan said. “Absolutely.”
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