PORTLAND, Ore. – Terry Wagemann has concerns about his son playing football. He’s worried he might get a concussion.
Michael Wagemann, who plays for Wilson High School’s junior varsity team and has hopes of playing college football, says he doesn’t really think about concussions, even though he’s been hit hard before.
“I just love the sport, I dream of going to the NFL and all that stuff,” Wagemann said. “When you’re out there if you worry about injuries you won’t play well, so you have to push it to the back of your head.”
President Barack Obama recently joins scores of concerned parents who worry about long-term brain health in football players young and old. Obama told The New Republic magazine that if he had a son, he’d have to think “Long and hard” about letting him play football.
Numerous players have sued the National Football League over its approach to head injuries, the most recent being the family of the late Junior Seau. In a suit filed Wednesday, Seau’s family accuses the league of hiding the dangers of repetitive blows to the head.
Seau suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, from repeated blows to the head, before he committed suicide last May.
Michael Wagemann and other aspiring football greats were practicing their form at a no-contact football camp at the Barton Football Academy on Sunday. He said he had his own head injury scare last year.
“I got the ball, as soon as I got through the hole [I was] smacked by this big linebacker,” he said. “Everything went white for a second, and I was like ‘oh.’ And then the game ended and I was wondering where I was for a bit, and who did we play.”
Wagemann said he took a memory reaction test, and everything checked out fine.
“Almost every year, every game he goes down I sit and worry ‘is this going to be a serious injury or just a small little scrape or bruise,’” said Terry Wagemann. “So I think sports recognizing there is risk makes it safer for players. At the same time, everything we do in life has risk.”